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Achievable GRE Review
Our in-depth analysis and review of the Achievable GRE prep course
Historically focused on securities industry exam preparation, Achievable has recently brought their proprietary smart, adaptive tech to GRE prep. And while relatively unknown to most students getting ready to take the GRE, this upstart prep provider has been making a ton of waves recently. But given their general rise from nowhere, many students naturally wonder how effective this prep course really is. In this review, we evaluate all of Achievable’s different features and prep material to answer just that question.
One of the really nice things about Achievable is that they keep their pricing and course option selection very simple. And I mean VERY simple. They offer just one prep package, which contains all of the study materials and features they offer, for $199.
This is stark contrast with mega providers like Kaplan and Princeton Review who each offer 5+ options to choose from. So though your option selection is more limited, I do like the elegant simplicity. One package, one price.
And on that point, $199 is a fantastic value. Most courses we review have price tags closer to $1,000 for their flagship package. So Achievable generally runs for a fraction of the cost of their competition. And the crazy part is that they still routinely offer discounts of up to 25% on their prep, so make sure to check for discount links and promo codes. At 25% off, this course effectively prices out at $150 – the best value in GRE prep in my opinion.
Pricing and course options current as of date of publication.
Evaluation of Achievable Coursework
In terms of the structure and design of this prep course, the moment I reviewed it, I knew it would get high marks in this category. Achievable just feels like the smartest prep course in the space. They use adaptive algorithms to constantly re-optimize your study plan, machine learning and AI to grade your practice essays, and memory science-backed, patterned learning to create the most efficient prep course possible.
And while this all sounds like great marketing material, after using the course, I can say that it is definitely real, and it definitely works. Starting with the algorithm that track your progress, you can absolutely feel this operating in the background. As you work practice tests, answer quiz questions and knock out reviews, it will shift your study plan. You can literally see it reallocate work in your queue and assign different review sessions based on your performance.
I loved this aspect of the Achievable course. It intelligently re-allocates your work to target your weaknesses and resurfaces old material that you need a refresher on. This in turn helps to maximize gains by keeping you working on areas you can improve, rather than spinning your wheels working on material you’ve already mastered and tested out of.
I was also a huge fan of the AI-graded essays. Similar to how to ETS grades essays, Achievable employs machine learning to instantly grade essays when you’re finished. This tech is off the charts good and something you don’t get with even major prep companies that cost close to a grand. I found it to be really spot on in terms of identifying missed issues and poorly written sections.
Finally, I really appreciated Achievable’s commitment to learning science. Rather than just building their course around the material you need to learn and letting you plow through it, Achievable wraps memory science into their course structure. How it works essentially is this: a few learning modules after you’ve learned a topic, you’ll see some practice questions from that unit pop back up in a later review quiz. Then a few review quizzes later, you’ll see it again.
In standardized test preparation, this concept is known as “spaced reviews” and is a proven means of helping you improve material retention. Again, it was just really nice to see Achievable go all in on these proven best practices, and I found them to utilize them extremely well.
In terms of the specifics of how this course is actually structured, everything is built around Achievable’s digital textbook. There are no video lessons or live classes. Instead, the backbone of your content review and instructional work is an interactive text.
Achievable’s textbook is broken down into 89 chapters, which basically act as learning modules for the course. And that is how you learn – you read a chapter, work some practice questions, and then get assigned a review session or two based on how their algorithm assesses your performance.
As for the book specifically, it is honestly one of the best I’ve reviewed. It’s written in about the plainest English I have seen a prep book written. They use layman’s terms and conversational language to describe some pretty complex and technical concepts. This, in my opinion, really increases material comprehension and later retention.
And another nice aspect of the book is that these chapters are incredibly short and digestible. Each one takes just 10 to 20 minutes to read. In addition, it’s not just a block of text. After you get through the initial section that describes the concept being taught and how it works, it uses some really well-crafted sample problems to demonstrate the point. Essentially, it uses a very basic sample problem and breaks it down in detail, explaining insightfully how the concept plays out in practice on the GRE. It’s a very smart and effective means of structuring a text.
If I had one complaint here though, it would be that this book is digital only – no hardcopy version. Sometimes it is nice to not burn your eyes out on the screen or have a hardcopy version that you can haul to the beach. But it is what it is with Achievable. They are an ultra-affordable, online only prep company focused on smart, modern prep. So I get that it’s just their approach. But have a hardcopy book would be nice, even if there was a small fee to get a print copy.
Achievable Question Bank
Beyond the digital text, the other primary component of your prep course is going to be Achievable’s practice question bank. In total, Achievable provides around 200 or so verbal practice problems, and an infinite number of quant problems. How do they do this you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple actually. They create 100 or so templates based on the most heavily tested quant question types and allow their smart tech (once again) to swap out variables each time a problem is generated.
So essentially, every single practice question is different, but originates from the same 100 or so templates. This is actually a really good thing though, in my opinion. By solving the same problem 10 different times with 10 different variables, you actually learn how to solve for the issue being tested. Rather than memorizing answers based on certain figures, you start to get a feel for and learn the underlying concepts. This is another one of those learning science principles Achievable builds into their program, and I was a big fan.
In addition, I should mention that I was pretty impressed with the text explanations that accompany Achievable’s practice problems. They’re maybe not the best I’ve seen (see Magoosh for that), but they’re dang good. They succinctly break down each answer choice in a few sentences and give you a good feel for why the possible answers are correct or incorrect. They’re not overly-long, but they are highly effective explanations.
Overall, I really liked Achievable’s practice material. I found it to be highly realistic of actual GRE exam questions. The questions seemed to generally track with the length, difficulty and content of real GRE problems. And in terms of quantity, as I mentioned, I love the infinite quant problem structure. However, I would like to see them add another 100 or so verbal problems. 200 is a decent amount, but more would be better here – for reasons I’m about to explain.
So all in all, Achievable gives you 10 practice exams to test your knowledge under exam-like conditions. Now, to be clear, there is a bit of a caveat here. You do get 10 full-length practice exams with never before see questions – if you don’t use any of your verbal practice questions in the bank. In other words, these practice exams are generated by recycling questions from the question bank.
So if you use up half the verbal practice problems in the bank, it would really only leave you with 5 practice exams comprised of never before seen content. So this is a bit of a bummer, as it would be nice to get 10 full-length tests to practice under exam-like conditions (i.e. seeing problems you’ve never seen before).
But in any event, this limitation really only applies to the verbal portion of your practice tests, and there is very good chance you’re not going to take 10 exams anyway. So while I love the quality of Achievable’s GRE practice questions, the infinite number of quant problems, and the accompanying problem explanations, the fact that they recycle problems from the question bank to generate practice exams isn’t my favorite.
No Classes Or Video Lessons
As mentioned above, Achievable does not offer any video lessons or live classes. So if you’re a visual learner that absolutely needs to see how things work with graphics, cartoons and animations, Achievable may not be a great fit for you. Though I would note that their interactive, digital textbook does incorporate many of these elements, including graphics and sample problems, so it’s not a bad runner-up.
Alternatively, if you need the structure and accountability that comes with live classes because you’re not the most self-motivated student, then Achievable likely won’t be for you either. Achievable is all about self-driven, self-motivated studying. There are no instructors assigning you work that absolutely needs to get done, peer pressure to keep up, or anything of that sort. It’s totally self-paced, flexible study with Achievable.
But you can’t really expect Achievable to offer these features at under $200, especially the live classes. It just wouldn’t make financial sense for them to hire, train and employ top tier instructors to teach classes and still charge less than $200. They’d lose money, and I get that.
The video lessons are a slightly different story though. Magoosh is another major prep provider and they do provide some video lessons. They’re not the best videos I’ve seen (with lacking production value) but they are better than nothing. Though as I said before, Achievable’s digital textbook is really strong and does make up for some of the difference.
Digital Platform / UX
User interface / user experience is another category where Achievable scores really high. The fact that their founders are Silicon Valley tech guys really shows. The Achievable platform is clean, modern and ultra-intuitive. It’s one of the simplest prep platforms I’ve used to date, and I loved the UX. It’s easy on the eyes and just looks pretty.
Plus, the responsiveness is very snappy and I have never had an issue with lagging, loading pages, or anything like that. Bottom line, the digital platform is clean, fast and really user friendly. Top marks here.
Content Access Period
Achievable provides one of the longer content access periods in GRE prep. At 1 year of access, they provide you with more time than you’ll need. Most students need just 4-6 months to study for the GRE, so 1 year is plenty generous. I have no complaints at all about this access period.
So Achievable doesn’t have a mobile app, but their platform is mobile friendly. Very mobile friendly, in fact. Again, this program was designed by tech guys in the California Bay Area, and as such, they made mobile a priority. The mobile layout of the program is sleek and very snappy. Their mobile design isn’t some clunky afterthought like I’ve seen with others.
I usually like to see a standalone mobile app for the sake of compartmentalizing work, and the fact that I think you generally get better UX through an app, but in this case, I had no qualms with the mobile friendly design. I was so content with the mobile website in fact, that I won’t even gripe and I say wanted a mobile app here.
Verdict: Achievable GRE Prep
All in all, I was really impressed with the Achievable GRE prep course. While I would like to see them add some video lessons to their roster of materials, I get why they don’t currently have any. At $199 for their prep package, it’s just hard to offer that level of resources. But with that said, I still found this course to pack a punch. Between a really well-written digital textbook, thousands of practice problems, 10 full-length practice tests, and one of the better digital platforms I’ve seen, there is a lot to like. And that doesn’t even mention the smart, adaptive tech that they wrap around their coursework, which in my opinion, makes this prep course. Bottom line, I think for the price you absolutely cannot go wrong with Achievable for your GRE prep, and they should give you everything you need to get a top tier score.
In our team’s opinion, yes. While maybe not the most robust course on the market, Achievable is an insanely good value at under $200. Their interactive textbook and mountain of practice material is top notch.
How much does Achievable GRE prep cost?
Achievable costs just a fraction of what other GRE prep providers charge at $199. And even at that, you can often find it on sale for up to 25% off.
Will Achievable raise my GRE score?
Our team does believe that if you complete all of your prep work with Achievable, you should see a score increase. We rate their prep materials out very highly against competitors.