Many graduate institutions in the US and Canada require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), a standardized test. Test takers can dramatically increase their GRE scores and chances of admission to top graduate schools by properly preparing for the exam. However, choosing the right GRE prep class is crucial for effective study. Here are some tips to help you select the GRE test classes that suit your needs and learning style:
- Consider Your Time Commitment Level
The first step when choosing GRE prep classes is to realistically assess how much time you can dedicate to studying on a weekly basis. Class options vary significantly in terms of the time commitment required from students. Full-time intensive courses typically meet for several hours each day and are best suited for test takers who can devote their full attention to GRE preparation. These types of classes move at a faster pace but may be difficult to balance with a job or other responsibilities.
Part-time or weekend-only classes have less frequent meeting times, often just a few hours once or twice a week. They provide a good option for working professionals who have limited availability during weekdays but more flexibility on evenings and weekends. However, the limited contact time means content will need to be covered at a more gradual pace compared to full-time programs.
Online self-paced courses provide maximum flexibility since you can study anywhere and on your own schedule. However, they usually lack the structure and accountability of instructor-led classes. Without a set meeting time, it can be easy to fall behind or skip material if you get busy. Hybrid options that combine online learning modules within a session offer a balance of flexibility and structure. Consider your schedule constraints and commitments when choosing prep classes.
- Research Teaching Methods
Different instructors and prep companies employ varied teaching philosophies and techniques. Some focus more on building conceptual understanding through detailed lessons, while others emphasize timed practice tests. Observe sample classes either in-person or online to get a sense of the instructional approach.
Ask about the teaching materials and technology used. Up-to-date prep books, online video lessons and practice software can enhance learning, and question-level explanations are especially useful for improving your test-taking skills. Interactive class discussions and individual feedback from instructors also help reinforce concepts. Choose a method that suits your preferred learning style.
- Check Instructor Qualifications
The background and qualifications of GRE teachers matter greatly. Look for instructors who are highly experienced not only in standardized testing but also have taken the GRE themselves and scored in the top percentiles. In addition, find out if teachers undergo continuous training to stay updated on the test.
Ideally, instructors at top prep schools will have relevant graduate degrees, teaching certifications as well as many years of classroom experience with a track record of students achieving high GRE scores. Do not hesitate to ask about an individual teacher’s credentials before signing up for classes. Proper subject matter expertise will benefit you the most in your preparation.
- Consider Your Budget
GRE prep can vary widely depending on factors like the provider, class format, number of hours, and study materials included. Carefully research class options and fees upfront to identify programs that fit your budget.
Some companies offer discounted multi-course packages or group rates that lower the per-hour cost. Employer reimbursement or scholarship programs may also help with expenses. If short on funds, practice resources, online forums and used prep books can still help to some extent.
- Ask About Support
Beyond test preparation, find out if your potential GRE test prep courses include any placement assistance services. Good programs provide profile-building help, admissions consulting, and guidance on identifying suitable graduate programs. Some may offer services like resume and personal statement reviews.
Some even have relationships with colleges that can help high-achieving students directly with admissions officers. Such value-added services give you a competitive edge in your applications. However, be wary of guarantees or promises that cannot be realistically delivered. Stick to reputable prep companies with solid placement track records.
- Consider Trial Classes
The best way to evaluate different GRE prep options is to experience sample classes first-hand before making a decision. Look for providers that offer short trial or introductory sessions either online or in-person. This low-commitment approach allows you to try out the teaching style, materials and your comfort level with different instructors.
Pay close attention to how well concepts are explained, the difficulty level of practice questions, and how student doubts are addressed. Trial classes are also an opportunity to ask all your other questions to teachers. Choose full courses only after being fully satisfied with the trial experience.
- Ask for Guarantees and Refund Policies
Reputable GRE prep companies stand by the quality of their instruction and offer money-back guarantees if you do not achieve certain promised score increases. Carefully review the terms, conditions and fine print of any guarantees or refund policies offered.
Some programs may refund a portion of fees or have a limited claim window. Be sure you understand what is covered and any requirements for refund eligibility. This protects your investment and allows you to switch providers if you are not satisfied with the results or instruction.
- Consider Reviews and Testimonials
To get an impartial perspective, read online reviews from past students, check rankings on third-party sites, and search for testimonials on company websites. Look for common themes regarding teaching quality, score increases, satisfaction levels, and complaints, if any.
Pay attention to reviews on popular prep forums and social media as well. However, take any claims of huge score boosts or guarantees with a pinch of salt. Overall, reviews provide a balanced view of different schools and programs to help with your selection.
With thorough research and by considering your individual needs, schedule, and budget, you can identify the best GRE prep classes to maximize your scores. Consulting reviews, trying sample sessions, and assessing instructor qualifications give you valuable insights for decision-making. Focus on reputable providers like Jamboree India that offer effective learning experiences and value-added services for graduate admissions support. With the right preparation plan and classes, you can feel confident and prepared on GRE test day.”