Your GRE score is a critically important part of your graduate school application.
What is your plan for getting a fantastic GRE score?
You could try a self paced online GRE review program, which would include thousands of practice questions, full length practice tests, and video lessons with strategies for increasing your GRE score.
Two of the most popular online prep services are Barron’s GRE Prep and The Economist GRE Prep.
Is either program right for you?
You may also be interested in our article comparing Kaplan and Magoosh’s online GRE prep.
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Comparing Barron’s GRE vs The Economist GRE
Barron’s GRE Prep vs The Economist GRE Prep: What are the Similarities?
Both of these GRE review programs have the same goal, which is to prepare you for the test and increase your GRE score.
They both have thousands of practice questions, video review lessons, full length practice tests, and reports to show you which types of questions that you are good at and which types of questions you need to work on more.
Hours of Video Lessons
Barron’s and The Economist each have extensive video review lessons that will teach you strategies for taking the GRE test.
The self paced online GRE review program offered by Barron’s includes more than 25 hours of video lessons.
The Economist GRE Tutor does not list the exact quantity of video lessons available in their program, but they do have an additional feature not available with Barron’s program. They include several live one-on-one video chats with a real GRE tutor as well as the ability to email a tutor with specific questions.
Self Paced GRE Practice and Review
Each of these GRE review programs will allow you to study at your own pace.
As you take more practice tests and complete practice questions, their algorithms will recommend which video lessons to watch and point you to the types of questions that you should focus on.
Their reports will also give you an estimated GRE score as you study, so you have a rough idea of how much you have improved.
The two services differ in the quantity of the review material available through each program, specific features in their programs, the type of money back guarantee they offer, and their pricing.
Full Length GRE Practice Tests
Taking full length practice tests is one of the best ways to prepare for the GRE.
You get to practice the endurance required to take the GRE test, get a feel for the rhythm of questions and how you should spend your time wisely, and receive a simulated GRE score so you can determine whether to keep studying or to schedule the real test.
Both The Economist and Barron’s offers full length practice tests through their online programs.
The Economist includes one more practice test compared to Barron’s (5 instead of 4), but either one will allow you the opportunity to experience the GRE test before sitting down in a testing center.
The free trial offered by the Economist includes one free full length GRE test, plus access to its other features.
Practice Questions for the GRE Verbal and Quantitative Sections
Barron’s GRE Prep and The Economist GRE Tutor both include thousands of practice questions covering all of the questions types you might see on the real GRE Test.
The Economist offers more than 5,000 practice questions, which is significantly more than the 3,000 practice questions available with Barron’s program.
If you prefer reviewing for tests with practice questions, then The Economist might be a better option for you.
Money Back Guarantees
The two companies both offer some type of money back guarantee, but type of guarantee is starkly different.
Barron’s GRE program includes a 3 day money back guarantee, so if you regret your purchase then you can cancel within that window.
The Economist GRE includes a 5 point score improvement guarantee with their Premium plan and a 7 point score improvement guarantee with their Ultimate program.
You don’t need to take the GRE test before starting The Economist program to qualify for the score improvement guarantee. If you take a full length practice GRE test in the first 7 days after purchasing the program, then your practice score will be used as your baseline for the guarantee.
They do require that you complete 90% of their study program, take all 5 practice tests, and use their one-on-one tutor at least three times to qualify for the guarantee. You will also need to start the Economist program at least 10 weeks before your official GRE test date.
If you complete all of these requirements and still don’t improve your GRE score 5 or 7 points, then you are eligible for a full refund.
Free Trials and Demos
Both The Economist and Barron’s offer a free trial of their products.
The Economist offers a 7 day free trial that gives you access to all their video lessons, practice GRE questions, one full length practice GRE test, and 5 questions you can ask a GRE tutor.
Barron’s has a free basic account that allows you to watch 6 of their video lessons, take 100 practice questions, but no full length practice tests.
You can check out either product’s free trial below.
GRE Analytical Writing Practice
One of the most difficult parts of the test to get prepared for is the analytical writing essays.
The main problem is finding a way to get feedback on your writing so that you can improve.
The Economist GRE allows you to practice writing GRE essays and receive graded feedback. The Basic plan includes 3 graded essays, the Premium plan includes 6 graded essays, and the Ultimate plan includes 7 graded essays.
Barron’s GRE prep does not include essay practice and grading as part of their program.
Related Study Materials
Barron’s also offers other GRE review materials in print format. These materials include GRE study guides and vocabulary practice (which includes Barron’s GRE word list).
These materials are not part of their online prep course, but they can be found on Amazon.
The print materials will be less expensive than the online review course, but they do not include the teaching videos, adaptive lesson plan, and thousands of practice questions that are included in Barron’s online program.
Barron’s GRE Cost vs The Economist GRE Cost
As of 2018, The Economist GRE online prep is significantly more expensive than Barron’s prep.
Currently, The Economist’s self paced program costs $299 for 3 months of access while Barron’s program is $99 for 12 months of access.
The Economist offers more features and a better guarantee, but if your budget is tight then Barron’s program might work better for you.
How Should You Decide Between The Economist GRE and Barron’s GRE?
Choosing the right GRE review program will depend on your priorities and personal preferences.
Do you want to spend a lot of time preparing for the GRE? Is it really important to you to maximize your GRE score?
If so, then The Economist might be your best option. The program includes more practice questions and full length practice tests than Barron’s program. It also includes GRE essay practice and access to a live tutor who can answer questions.
Is your budget tight? Do you not have a lot of time to spend on reviewing for the GRE?
Then Barron’s self paced GRE program could work better for you. The cost is lower than The Economist’s program, so you are not paying for thousands more practice questions that you don’t plan on using anyway.
Regardless of whether you choose either of these programs, you should take advantage of their free trials.