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Best GRE Tutors
Our team's comprehensive guide to the best available GRE private tutoring services based on the factors that matter most
If you’re eyeing a top tier, selective grad school program, there’s a chance you’re going to need to score in at least the 60th or 70th percentile for both verbal and quant – regardless of what you’ve heard admissions committees say about the importance of GRE scores. And to get those types of scores, there’s likely no better way to prep than with a 1-on-1 private tutoring package. But where do you start in choosing one? In this guide, we evaluate all the major GRE tutoring companies out there and rate out their services based on a variety of factors, including price, quality of their tutors, score guarantees, and whether courses come bundled with the tutoring.
Taking the #1 spot on our list for best overall GRE tutoring service is Manhattan Prep. They earn this honor for three main reasons: (1) their high-quality tutors, (2) the inclusion of their highly-rated prep course with the tutoring bundle, and (3) a really nice framework for online tutoring.
So let’s start with the most important aspect, the tutors themselves. In short, after reviewing close to ten different GRE tutoring companies and having a chance to audit sessions with students, we found Manhattan Prep’s tutors to be the best, plain and simple. Their tutors are all 99th percentile scorers and obviously have a very solid grasp of both the content and strategy side of the GRE.
But perhaps more importantly, they were just really good communicators. The Manhattan tutors seem to do a great job keeping things light and communicating teaching points in an easily understandable way. This, in my opinion at least, is almost more important than topic mastery, so we gave them big points for this.
Then beyond the tutors themselves, the way you interact with Manhattan’s tutors is pretty seamless as well. If you’re doing online tutoring, which is actually the only way Manhattan is conducting tutoring post-Covid (at least as of now), you’ll meet with your tutor in a Zoom-based tutoring room. It’s very simple to use, and offers great tools like a shared digital whiteboard, where you and your tutor can mark up notes on screen and share thoughts. It’s a small piece of the puzzle, but our team really liked this platform.
Then lastly, the final point that lands Manhattan in the #1 spot is the fact that when you buy one of their private tutoring bundles, Manhattan also includes free access to their GRE “Interact” course, which is their top-rated GRE prep course. This prep program is packed with study tools and resources, including over 65 on demand video lessons, 100,000+ GRE practice problems, 6 full-length simulated tests, 4 hardcopy prep books, and a bunch more.
It is a lot of study material and all included for free, which is about a $500 value. This will save you some dough, because in all likelihood, you’re going to have to buy a prep course anyway.
And on that point of cost, I would just note that the one downside of Manhattan’s tutoring is the price. Their tutoring packages range from around $225 -$245 per hour when broken down. When compared to competitors, this is a little expensive. However, Manhattan does sometimes run special sales and promotions where you can catch a nice deal, so be sure to check for coupons or discount codes before buying.
In our #2 spot is Princeton Review, which primarily ranks way up our list because they’re the best company offering in person tutoring. As referenced above, since Covid, Manhattan Prep is 100% online, and this is the case for a lot GRE tutors and companies as well. Not that many do in-person tutoring anymore.
However, the reality is that online tutoring doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Some students need face-to-face interaction and just learn better when they can work out problems with their tutor sitting right there next to them. There’s just something different about being in person as opposed to working over Zoom. So if you’re one of these types of learners, and looking for more traditional in person tutoring, we found Princeton Review to be the best in this respect.
However, that’s not to say Princeton’s live online tutoring is bad- because it’s not at all. In fact, it’s very strong and not too far behind Manhattan in our ranking formula. In addition, one other thing I’d note is Princeton Review’s score guarantee. Their deluxe tutoring package guarantees you’ll score at least 165 on both the quant and verbal sections, or your money back.
Now, this is a monster promise, especially if you’re targeting a top tier program, but there are two things to keep in mind here. This is only for Princeton’s top-of-the-line 32-hour package (which costs close to $5,000), and there is some fine print, but this is a nice promise.
And in case you’re wondering about all of Princeton Review’s offerings from a price perspective, they offer packages starting at 10 hours and running up to 32 hours of tutoring. These packages range in price from around $156/hour up to $180/hour, so they are a little cheaper than Manhattan Prep.
Third up on our list is Kaplan. And to make a long story short, Kaplan is effectively our “runner up” to Manhattan Prep. The two companies offer extremely similar tutoring packages, and Kaplan rates out just slightly lower – albeit with better pricing. Kaplan offers a wide range of tutoring packages, from pay-by-the-hour, one-off tutoring sessions all the way up to 40-hour bundles.
These packages also range widely in price. They start as low as $117/hour, but make their way all the way up to $230/hour. So if you opt for one of those bigger bundles with the lower cost per hour, those prices are far better than Manhattan’s prices.
And it’s not like Kaplan’s GRE tutors are far behind either. I personally thought they were really good. They’re all clearly GRE gurus, but just didn’t quite seem to have that same interpersonal connection with students like some of the Manhattan teachers do. In the end though, I still think they’re effective.
Plus, like Manhattan Prep, Kaplan kicks in their self-paced GRE prep course with their tutoring bundles, so keep that in mind. The Kaplan and Manhattan Prep courses are neck and neck in terms of quality, and Kaplan’s package is approximately a $450 value. So bottom line, if you’re looking for a Manhattan Prep-like tutoring service, but maybe with a slightly more approachable price tag, that’s Kaplan.
The final GRE tutoring service to make our list is Varsity Tutors. And they slide into the #4 spot mainly because of their bargain cost. We love the price point of companies like Varsity Tutors and Wyzant, who basically act as a quasi job board for hundreds of independent GRE tutors who set their own rates.
However, in my experience, these more broad-based type of tutoring services are a little more hit and miss than the tutors from focused test prep companies like Manhattan Prep and Princeton Review. And that’s because the instructors from Varsity Tutors really don’t follow a specific teaching framework. Instead, each individual tutor has their own methods of teaching and hacks to help students.
Don’t get me wrong, you might be able to find an absolute homerun of a GRE tutor on Varsity Tutors for less than half the cost of what some of these test prep companies charge. But on the other hand, you also could spin your wheels wasting time and money on a two-bit tutor that teaches you bunk strategies and methods that just really work. Like I said, it can be a little hit and miss. So if you do go this route, do your best to follow the ratings from other students.
But among all these broad-based types of tutoring services, we like Varsity Tutors the best for GRE prep. For one, the hourly rates you can get with Varsity Tutors can be extremely low – sometimes as low as $30/hour. That’s not the norm, but those kind of prices are out there.
Then secondly, we like that Varsity Tutors actually vets their tutors and doesn’t just open up their listings to anyone. You actually have to know what you’re doing.
Plus, Varsity Tutors also offers in person instruction if you’re looking for a tutor near you, which is a nice bonus as well. Basically, if you’re a bargain hunter and willing take a bit of a gamble, I’d recommend checking Varsity Tutors out and at least going through the initial screening process (which is pretty simple). You never know what you might find.