September 2023 the GRE General Test Switched to a Two-Hour Format; As of February 2024 All Official ETS PowerPrep Practice Exams Have Been Updated to That New Format
Is the GRE Better than the GMAT or LSAT?
Over the years, the GRE has become the Swiss army knife of graduate admissions exams. Originally intended for non-professional graduate programs, it is now accepted by an overwhelming majority of business schools as an alternative to the GMAT and by an increasing number of law schools instead of the LSAT. If you are not sure about what kind of graduate program you might apply to, the GRE is worth considering as it will have the widest possible applicability of any graduate admissions exam.
Over time, the GRE has gained a reputation as an "easier" alternative to both the GMAT and the LSAT. However, recent changes to the exam have made this reputation less realistic than it may have been previously. In September 2023, Educational Testing Services (ETS) significantly shortened the length of the GRE largely in response to changes that the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) made to the GMAT. These changes have given the test a much smaller margin for error for candidates seeking to reach the highest echelons of the GRE's 130-170 point scale.
In addition to its tightened score curve, the GRE remains the only test that requires discrete study of plane geometry for its Quantitative section, English vocabulary for its Verbal section, and still retains a scored Analytical Writing essay. For these reasons, and more, we always encourage students to attempt a shortened GRE diagnostic exam (be sure it is the shortened test with 12, not 20, questions in its first multiple choice section) to help determine whether the GRE is actually the best path forward for their graduate school goals.
Of course, the best way to determine whether the GRE is the best test for you is to contact MyGuru to schedule a free videoconference to discuss your specific needs with one of our test prep experts!
The MyGuru Edge for GRE Prep
No two GRE students are the same, so no two MyGuru one-on-one tutoring sessions are either. Our GRE tutors are equally familiar with each section of the exam (yes, that includes the Analytical Writing section) so they can build a uniquely targeted study plan with a personalized learning approach to help each student achieve their score goals. Additionally, our instructors are familiar with not only the official GRE practice materials from ETS, but also a lengthy list of third-party resources that they can recommend based on each individual student's learning style and content needs.
Our one-on-one GRE tutoring uses dynamic online whiteboarding tools in a virtual meeting environment that requires no equipment other than an internet connected computer with a microphone and camera. This allows MyGuru GRE tutoring to feature simultaneous content review and live practice problems. Using this parallel track of instruction, our instructors explain how particular GRE strategies and tactics can be used for future problems with similar content.
The instructor's live-produced whiteboard notes are then shared as either a static .pdf (see example) after every session or kept on a private whiteboard for future reference and interaction in between lessons. Over time, these notes become a supplementary "textbook" of tactics and content to review that is unique to each student's lesson plan and learning style that isn't available anywhere else.
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Customized GRE Study Plans
Selecting a GRE tutor is a major commitment, so we always offer a free 15-minute introductory videoconference with any potential instructor to help each student decide which path forward is best for their individual GRE and graduate school application needs. While we can also conduct a phone call, we recommend a videoconference as it allows a greater opportunity to share exactly what separates MyGuru from all other GRE prep companies. In that videoconference potential students will be able to:
- Screenshare live with an experienced MyGuru GRE coach to learn how our dynamic whiteboarding tool works and to better understand the differences between our standard and premium online tutoring offers
- Discuss a tailored GRE study schedule and possible supplementary resources that can help you continue your learning by completing intentionally curated homework assignments between live lessons
- Share your experience with the GRE, or any other standardized tests you may have taken in the past, to give fuller context regarding what you need from a potential tutor and consider whether the GRE is the best test for you
- Conduct a comfortable introductory conversation with your possible tutor to determine whether the personality fit is good and whether that instructor seems well-positioned to guide the next steps of your GRE journey
GRE Tutoring Pricing & Package Options
At MyGuru, we believe on return on investment and do not require any commitment to start working together beyond purchase of a single hour of instruction. We offer several tiers of instruction and hours to maximize value. At each level, MyGuru students have gained admission (and merit-based aid!) from some of the top graduate schools and MBA programs worldwide.
- Standard Online | $130 per hour | $600 for 5 hours | $1,400 for 12 hours | $2,700 for 24 hours
Our most affordable option, and significantly lower cost than our most well-known individual tutoring competitors, MyGuru Standard Online GRE tutoring is uniquely tailored to each student's needs by an instructor with thousands of hours of tutoring experience and provides a .pdf of each lesson's whiteboard notes by email within 24 hours of each session.
- Premium Online | $200 per hour | $900 for 5 hours | $2,100 for 12 hours | $4,000 for 24 hours
Our best value, MyGuru Premium Online GRE tutoring provides full recording of every session to watch back for up to three months after the final lesson and a private read/write whiteboard where students can demonstrate tactics live in lesson and post questions or comments in between lessons to maintain contact with their instructor. Instructors will check the board at least once a day to respond as warranted.
- Expert Edge Online | $250 per hour | $1,125 for 5 hours | $2,600 for 12 hours | $5,000 for 24 hours
Seeking large score improvements or top decile results? Consider premium online tutoring with MyGuru's Director of Instruction, Stefan Maisnier, who has 20 years of tutoring experience helping students get admitted to top schools such as Harvard Business School (two students in the class of 2025!), Cambridge, University of Chicago, Dartmouth, INSEAD, Northwestern, Penn, and Stanford among others.
Our packages are designed with flexibility in mind to facilitate regular lessons of 60, 90 (most common), or 120 minutes depending on student availability and preference. Once a package of time is purchased, the cost for any additional time will remain at the prorated hourly package rate. We also refund unused hours minus a 5% processing fee and consider time unused provided at least 24-hour notice is given prior to a lesson for any reschedule or cancellation request.
Although it isn't recommended for the computer-administrated GRE exam and lacks the dynamic features of our online tutoring, in-person instruction is available in many major US cities upon request, at the same prices as our Premium Online instruction, pending tutor availability.
Your GRE Tutoring Guru
The MyGuru GRE tutoring team is led by our Director of Instruction, Stefan Maisnier. Unlike most GRE experts, Stefan has an academic background more aligned with the Verbal section of the exam, possessing a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Southern California and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Because he hasn't taken a traditional math course in nearly two decades, Stefan steadfastly believes that the math skills needed to succeed on this exam can be learned (or relearned!) by just about anyone with a college degree - whether that degree is in art history or mechanical engineering. In fact, he is fond of pointing out quick and efficient logical solutions to problem solving questions that he calls "engineer breakers" because the technical solution is so complex that attempting it is a trap.
While he has been a full-time test prep professional for nearly a decade, and a part-time one for almost 20 years, his experiences in live sports television production at ESPN and Fox Sports, financial communications, international relations at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, France, and academia at Northwestern and City Colleges of Chicago have allowed him to develop a uniquely engaging teaching style. It's turns out that having experience in live broadcasting and communicating to a global audience helps to make even the most boring reading comprehension passage more interesting.
Stefan is proudest of keeping in touch with many of his past students and becoming good friends with a few. He enjoys the personal touch tutoring allows most, because it lets him help students overcome personal doubts on the path to success. He's always ready to supportively ask for more effort because "getting into a top graduate program is supposed to be hard!"
Shortened GRE vs Legacy GRE
Unfortunately, many available GRE study materials (including some official ones from ETS!) are still tailored to the old version of the exam with two essays and 20 questions in every multiple-choice section.
To prepare for the new shortened test, make sure that you're taking practice exams matching the new format. Check by making sure that the first multiple-choice section has 12, not 20 questions.
Other than the change in length and the removal of the Analyze an Argument essay task, no content areas have been added or removed for the new shortened GRE.
Prior GRE Format
Before September 21, 2023, the GRE was a nearly four-hour exam beginning with an Analytical Writing section comprised of two 30:00 essays followed by five randomized 20-question Verbal & Quantitative sections.
The prior Quantitative sections were 35:00 each, while the Verbal sections were 30:00 each. In addition to the two scored Verbal and two scored Quantitative sections, an unidentified unscored Quantitative or Verbal section was also included.
Current GRE Format
As of September 22, 2023, the GRE is a two-hour exam beginning with an Analytical Writing section comprised of one 30:00 essay followed by four Verbal & Quantitative sections in a randomized order.
The first Quantitative section is 21:00 long with 12 questions, while the first Verbal section is 18:00 long with the same number of questions. The second Quantitative section is 26:00 and has 15 questions, while the second Verbal section is 23:00 long with 15 questions.
As with the prior version of the exam, performance on the first section of either type dictates the difficulty of the second section of that type and by extension the score for that section.
Proven GRE Study Strategies
Preparing for a standardized test such as the GRE is more similar to preparing for a marathon than cramming for a final exam, so the first step is to commit to 1-2 hours of daily dedicated practice for at least six weeks. The best resources for that practice can be found directly from the ETS test makers at ets.org/gre where you can take a free diagnostic exam to determine your baseline score and learn how far you have to go to achieve your goal as well as what topics should be prioritized for study.
You'll want to procure a package of online problems for regular drills and each practice set should be fully self-reviewed to ensure that you are getting the most out of every exercise. Make sure to take a break between doing and self-reviewing your practice to avoid simply accepting an answer explanation rather than challenging yourself to determine why your answer was incorrect, while the correct answer was right instead.
Real GRE Student Feedback
- Kelsey H. Amazing experience working with Stefan at MyGuru for the GRE. Prompt, professional, customized, willing to work around my schedule - exceeded my goal score! I did independent study using Manhattan Prep and received a 163 on Quant on my GRE exam. Scheduled time with Stefan the next day, then set up several sessions over 3 weeks, and ended up scoring a 168 on Quant on my final GRE (Verbal went up as well). Appreciated that Stefan did not just recycle old content, especially since I had already studied for a while. He also was flexible and willing to fit me in around his and my schedules over a short time period. All for a very good per-hour price vs. competitors. The end results speak for themselves. I recommend MyGuru to all!
- Victor A. I used MyGuru to prepare for the GRE exam and I was very satisfied with the experience. My exam preparation took place during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and in-person tutoring options were hard to come by. I was initially very skeptical about online tutoring with MyGuru since I've always felt that I learn better in person. But the experience that I had with my tutor Stefan far exceeded my expectations. Coming from a social science academic background, my foundation in math was rather weak. I had taken the GRE before I started tutoring with MyGuru and scored 162 verbal 157 quantitative; I was planning to apply to highly selective programs and these scores were far from sufficient. During my sessions with Stefan, we went over my mistakes from GRE practice tests and homed in on my weak areas in math. Stefan would send study notes after each session and would give me helpful pointers on what to study for next time. I retook the GRE after 8 tutoring sessions and scored 165 verbal 163 quantitative, a 9-point increase. MyGuru is the best test preparation outlet that I have used bar none. With very reasonable prices and excellent quality instruction, I thoroughly recommend MyGuru for anyone preparing for a standardized test.
- Jasmin W. From Boston, New York, and Palm Beach, Stefan was flexible in meeting with me despite where I was that particular week. In those meetings, Stefan was the perfect balance of stern and supportive and always made me feel comfortable. Although Stefan was my GRE tutor, he certainly was not bound to his title and went above and beyond to give me the best advice, connections and tactics going into the graduate admissions process. I recently gained admission to NYU, USC, and Columbia University. Enrolling at Columbia has been my dream for a very long time, and I am thankful for Stefan helping me get there!
- Jeffrey H. MyGuru is a fantastic resource and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Stefan. He is an incredible instructor! Stefan helped me immensely by targeting the areas of the test where I needed improvement. Stefan assigned me practice problems and practice tests, which were extremely beneficial for my studying. He explained everything super clearly and provided strategies that I can use not only for the GRE, but for any test. More than that, Stefan's positivity and dedication motivated me and made me excited to learn! With Stefan's help, I was able to reach my target score on the GRE, and, for that, I will always be grateful. I cannot recommend MyGuru enough.
- Mareilena O. Worked with Steve to study for my GRE with very little time and he was absolutely amazing. He was patient and willing to put in some long study sessions late at night. I am so appreciative of his time and it landed me at a top business school with funding! Would recommend to anyone.
- Aja D. I had a remarkably effective and enjoyable tutoring, actually life, experience with Stefan Maisnier, Director of Online Tutoring, MyGuru. Because I am applying to business Ph.D. programs, I needed to score well on the GRE. In particular, I had concerns about getting up to speed on the quantitative elements of the exam since it had been decades since I took a math course. In the end, Stefan seemed to naturally identify how to communicate concepts that were tricky for me to process at first while also helping me to improve my performance on the verbal and writing aspects of the exam, where I was always more comfortable. I learned so much from him in such an enjoyable way, I have moments where I miss our sessions. I highly recommend Stefan to anyone interested in performing better than they think they can on a standardized exam. Trust the process!
- Luke L. I loved working with this company. I specifically worked with Stefan Maisnier and he was so helpful! I had decided due to the pandemic that I was ready to go to grad school but I needed serious help boosting my GRE test score and Stefan knew exactly how to help me improve. He gave me the tools I needed to be successful and helped me understand that the GRE is something that takes practice, not an IQ test. Stefan was is an incredible communicator and even via virtual learning was he fantastic at honing in on the exact areas I was struggling in. I cannot recommend MyGuru and Stefan's services enough!
- Alexis L. After taking the GRE and not doing as well as I'd hoped, I sought tutoring help from MyGuru. Within a few hours, Mark contacted me, followed by Stefan Maisnier for tutoring assistance. Over several weeks that Stefan and I met, he not only went over the information with me, but made sure that I understood it. He was very patient and explained things well. Most noteworthy, my writing increased from a 3 to a 4.5. I couldn't have done that without his help. I ended up getting the scores I wanted thanks to Stefan. I would recommend Stefan and MyGuru to all my family and friends.
- Pam P. I did not want to hire a tutor and I definitely did not want to pay for a block of hours and worry I wouldn't be refunded. All my worries and apprehensions were proved wrong. Using MyGuru was an excellent experience for GRE math tutoring. My only mistake was that I asked for tutoring too late in my studying and only used them for 4 hours. With that being said, in 4 hours of tutoring, my score went up 8 points. I was pleased that even the customer service was excellent. I contacted Mark on Saturday afternoon and tutoring was set up almost immediately. I had a tutoring session the following Tuesday with Stefan. I was reluctant to do online tutoring; however, was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was using google video and an online whiteboard. There were plenty of visuals and an inexpensive online book we shared so it was easy to follow along. I had 1.5 hours of tutoring left that was also easy to get refunded for. Everything from the first point of contact to the refund was seamless. I would recommend MyGuru to anyone in need of a tutor and would return if I need a tutor again.
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