Finding the right GRE class can be tough. In this post, we’ve done the best we can to get you the facts about the typical classes from each GRE course provider, such as their cost, class size, course materials, instructor, location, number of hours, and meeting times. We searched for providers using Google, Craigslist, and Yelp, and if there was anything we couldn’t find on their websites, we emailed and/or called them.
Scroll to the very bottom of this post for a handy comparison table.
The options we found are:
1. BTPS Testing (through SDSU College of Extended Studies)
2. UCSD Extension
3. Xceptional Prep
4. USD Professional and Continuing Education
5. Vince Kotchian Test Prep
6. Manhattan Elite Prep
8. Manhattan Review
What we found was that while many companies and individuals offer private or group tutoring for the GRE, there are only a handful of in-person GRE class providers offering classes. For example, while The Princeton Review offers in-person and online private GRE tutoring options, it does not offer in-person GRE classes in San Diego.
Sometimes, with classes, you can get lucky with a really small section if not a lot of people sign up. Typically, if less than three students sign up for a course, however, the course provider cancels the course. Some providers will let you know how many people have signed up for a course if you call them and tell them the section you’re looking at.
At the end of this article, there is a table for quick comparison of these options. We ordered the test providers by overall price, from lowest to highest. Here’s the breakdown of each provider and its upcoming classes.
1. BTPS Testing at SDSU Extension
The cheapest option for San Diego GRE test prep classes, at $490 (which includes free retakes) is BTPS’s course taught at San Diego State’s College of Extended Studies, which is at the same location as SDSU in the College Area. BTPS offers two summer sessions at SDSU, with both sessions meeting once per week on Saturdays, from 9am to 3pm. The first session runs from June 3rd to June 24th, and the second runs from July 29th to August 19th. The included materials for this course are CliffsNotes TestPrep GRE General Test® with CD/ROM. Classes are capped at 50 students. The course instructor seems to be either Jerry Swovelin, Barbara Swovelin, or Michael Brown. Started at Cal State Northridge and offered at various California locations, BTPS Testing is formally known as Bobrow Test Preparation Services, and they are based in Agoura Hills, in Southern California.
2. UC San Diego Extension
The next cheapest option for GRE classes is offered by UCSD Extension. It is $500 or free for current UCSD students, but if you are a UCSD student looking for the free summer class, be aware that you have to enroll between May 22-26th to get in, and you might have fewer options for class time than if you’re paying. The website says space is limited and provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. When we called, we were told classes are capped at 24. After 24, there is a waitlist, and information about the summer classes will be posted sometime in May. Current classes are four weeks long, from April 29th-May 21st, Saturdays 830am-1230pm or 1pm-5pm, and May 1st-May 24th MW 730-930pm. The materials included with this course are the ETS Official guide. All current sessions are taught by Anya Lundeberg. It’s important to note that while UC San Diego’s main campus is in La Jolla, its GRE classes are held at its UCSD Extension, University City Center in University City.
3. Xceptional Prep
Xceptional offers six-week, 18-hour, in-person GRE courses in Old Town San Diego for $549. Classes are capped at 15 students and are held on Sunday afternoons, 12pm-3pm. The class fee includes 18 hours of instruction and an assortment of materials, which are a Textbook of Official Test Questions, 4 Official GRE Practice Tests, a Comprehensive Math and Statistics Review, The Xceptional Prep GRE Coursebook, and A 970+ Word GRE Vocabulary List. The instructor information was not provided. Xceptional is based in Sacramento, CA, so at least their customer service is in the same time zone.
4. The University of San Diego
The University of San Diego, located in Linda Vista near Mission Valley, offers GRE test prep courses through its school of Professional and Continuing Education, which is adjacent to and just downhill from its main campus. Both summer courses are $895. The five-week Saturday 9am-330pm course, which runs June 3rd-July 8th, is a total of 39 hours, and the four-week TuTh 7-10pm course, which runs July 18th-Aug 17th is a total of 30 hours. The included course materials are the ETS Official GRE Guide, a GRE book by Cambridge Publishers, and in-house math book written over the years by USD test prep instructors. Classes are capped at around 30. The course instructors for these courses are not provided.
5. Vince Kotchian Test Prep
Vince Kotchian Test Prep offers separate math and verbal GRE courses year-round in Sorrento Valley and UTC. Verbal classes are $350 and are 9 hours total, and Math classes are $550 and are 15 hours total. Classes are typically held on weeknights from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The included materials are the ETS Official Practice Question books for Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning, the Manhattan Prep 5-lb Book of GRE Math Practice, and CliffsNotes Math Review for Standardized Tests. The classes are capped at 12 students, and they are all taught by either Vince Kotchian or Blake Jensen. For more information about Vince's classes, click here.
6. Manhattan Elite
Not to be confused with Manhattan Review, which is the last option on this price-sorted list, or Manhattan Prep, which makes prep books but does not offer classes, Manhattan Elite offers six-week, 28-hour, in-person GRE prep courses in downtown San Diego. This course is $1200 or $1100 if you register two weeks in advance. Manhattan Elite also offers one-week, 28-hour intensive GRE prep courses, which cost $1650 ($1550) as well as weekend-long, 16-hour crash courses, which cost $950 ($850). Classes are on weekday nights from 6:30-10pm or weekend afternoons from 2-6:30pm. Materials included are the ETS Official Guide, 5 online practice exams, and a Digital Guides Collection. Manhattan Elite uses Manhattan Review materials in their courses, coincidentally, even though they have no relation to the other company. Class size is capped at 12, and the instructors are not provided. Manhattan Elite is based in New York.
With in-person courses costing $1300, Kaplan is a pricier option. Kaplan’s in-person courses are 20 hours and capped at 20 students. The San Diego locations are in Mission Valley, La Jolla UTC, or San Marcos. Weekday evening classes tend to be from 6-830pm or 7-930pm. Saturday classes start in the afternoon, at 1pm. Materials included with the course are Kaplan’s own: the Kaplan GRE Premier: Course Book Edition, Kaplan GRE Math Workbook, Kaplan GRE Verbal Workbook, and Kaplan GRE Pocket Reference, along with Kaplan’s online courseware, which you have access to for up to two months after your course ends. The course instructors for these classes are not provided. Kaplan’s headquarters are in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
8. Manhattan Review
Manhattan Review offers six-week, 28-hour classes in San Diego for $1590 ($1490 for advance sign-up). Classes are held on Harbor Island on Saturday or Sunday afternoons from 12pm-3:30pm or 3pm-6:30pm. Materials included are all Manhattan Review’s own materials: the course PDF includes all 11 Manhattan Review GRE workbooks. Class size is capped at 15. The name of the instructor for specific courses is not provided. The company is based in New York.
Below is a handy table for comparing the different companies, sorted by increasing total cost. The location is where the classes are held in San Diego, not where the company is based. The class meeting times are based on current available information. Few companies provided instructor information, so for those we put “not provided.” Some companies provided descriptions of their course instructors but didn’t actually tell us who they were, so we put “not provided” for those too.
The class size is the class size limit, not the expected or the minimum number of sign-ups, which are often the metrics companies are more willing to provide. Total hours are for a typical, multiple-week class for that course provider.
Cost is rounded to the nearest $10 for comparison purposes, and we used the one you get if you register early. You’re doing your research by reading this, so it’s a fair assumption you might sign up early, right?
|SDSU||College Area||Saturdays||Jerry Swovelin||50||30||$470|
|UCSD Ext.||University City||Weeknights / Saturdays||Anya Lundeberg||24||16||$500|
|Xceptional Prep||Old Town||Sundays||not provided||15||18||$550|
|USD||Linda Vista||Weeknights / Saturdays||not provided||30||30||$900|
|Vince Kotchian||Sorrento Valley||Weeknights||Vince or Blake||10||24||$900 for both verbal + math|
|Manhattan Elite||Downtown||Weeknights / Weekends||not provided||12||28||$1100|
|Kaplan||Mission Valley||Weeknights / Weekends||not provided||20||20||$1300|
|Manhattan Review||Harbor Island||Sundays||not provided||15||28||$1490|
Hopefully this article helps you with your GRE class search!
- Soph Lundeberg