Most students know that the GRE test fee is $195. But that is not the end. If you’re talking GRE costs, you need to factor in a lot of other expenses, which eventually will cost you much more than the actual test fee. So, if you are asking “How much does the GRE cost?” well, there is no universal answer to that. It all depends on how you are going to prepare, what all are you going to purchase as a part of your preparation, and ultimately, where you live.
We, at CrunchPrep, have consolidated all the costs that a student can expect while preparing for the GRE. Remember that these costs are generalized, and the actual GRE costs may vary from student to student.
GRE Test Fee: ($97.5 or $195)
It costs you $195 to register for the GRE. Although this fee was previously variable by country, ETS had made it clear that the fee is now fixed for all students across all countries, whether paper based or computer based. However, ETS provides a very limited number of GRE fee waiver certificates on a first come first serve basis, to the students and unemployed individuals in the US, who can prove their financial need. Such individuals can register for the GRE at half the actual fee ($97.5). There is NO fee waiver or fee reduction to students living outside the US.
Score Reporting: ($27 per university)
Sometimes, score reporting can turn out to be quite costly to students. ETS allows you to send score reports of your test to as many as four universities for free. Should you decide to send scores to more universities, you will have to bear in mind that this costs you 27 bucks per university. Most students apply to 6-8 universities, which means, score reporting alone would cost you an additional 108 bucks, which is why you must take great care when shortlisting your target universities.
Prep Course: ($99 to $5,000)
Now, you should bear in mind that signing up for the test isn’t sufficient. To get a great score on the GRE, you need lots of practice, not to mention a number of subtle techniques that give you a clear edge on the test day. This is why most students opt for GRE prep courses, and there is a great variety of options to choose from, ranging between $99 and $499 – both regular in-class coaching or online prep courses.
However, some universities offer free GRE classes to their students, but such classes are not only very rare around the world, but also aren’t as effective as professional prep courses. So, we urge you to opt for a professional prep course taught by experienced top faculty rather than waste your time with freebie classes. The money you’re putting in is definitely worth it in the end.
Some students understandably prefer private tutoring to classroom coaching, so they would receive personal attention from the tutor. But at the same time these private tutors charge you a fortune, usually between $500 and $5,000, depending on experience and contact hours. And if you are already thinking that the GRE cost is high enough, imagine how expensive these prep courses can become. So, unless you think you cannot do without personal attention, private tutoring is an unnecessary expenditure.
What We Recommend
We recommend that you opt to self-study first, and then write a couple of practice tests to see where you stand, so you can save some of your GRE costs. If you think you can do well without prep courses, continue on the self-study path and follow a strict study plan, depending on your target score, your current standing, and your daily schedule.
If, however, you feel you cannot reach your target score by self-studying, then you can choose to attend to one of the prep courses available, based on your research and how much you are willing to spend.
Study Material: ($200)
There are literally hundreds of books out there that can get you where you want, but the smart student should choose not only the best, but also a good combination of study material available in the market. The key is to master as many concepts and practice as many questions as possible in the limited time that you have. And any one book would not suffice this requirement, so you will have to go for a combination of materials and tests. We recommend that any student who aims at a high score on the GRE, should have the following:
1. Manhattan 8 Strategy Guides: ($150)
Manhattan GRE provides 8 strategy guides that give you everything you need for the GRE. While most students buy all eight books, we’d recommend that you get those guides that will really help you. If you are already confident about, say Sentence Correction, then there is no real need in buying a Strategy Guide for it. However, these guides contain valuable strategies and quick tips to solve different types of problems quicker. So, if you think you’ll need all eight, go ahead and get them. Now, even if you buy one of those eight strategy guides, you will have access to six free practice tests, which of course are very vital to your preparation. If you know how to use the GRE practice tests, these tests will really help you understand the test, and your performance.
So, we recommend you to buy at least one strategy guide, just for the six free practice tests that come along. If you want to buy the same practice tests separately, it would cost you $30, while each strategy guide costs just $20, which in our opinion, is a better choice.
2. The Manhattan 5 lbs. Book: ($19.95)
The five pound book is the best source of practice questions in the market. It has close to 1800 quality questions for you to practice, along with explanations for every question, which should give you enough practice before the real GRE exam.
Now, if you still find time even after finishing the strategy guides, the five pound book, and all the six practice tests, you should take the ETS PowerPrep II tests and evaluate your performance even further. These tests bear a very close resemblance to the official GRE exam, and taking the PowerPrep tests will help you gauge your scores.
Additional GRE Costs: (Variable)
When you figure out how much you’re spending on the GRE, you also need to factor in travel and accommodation. While the GRE is widely available in the US; internationally, only major cities have GRE test centers, which means, there will be thousands of students travelling to other cities just to give the GRE. Flight/train tickets, and hotel room costs in big cities aren’t going to be cheap. And more often than not, the travelling and lodging costs would add up to be more than the actual test fee. Students should hence take into account travel and accommodation as a part of the test expenditure.
So, now that you know the various expenses you’ll have to bear along with the actual GRE costs, how much do you think it will cost for you?