There are a lot more costs for taking the GRE than just the test fee. So asking “How much does the GRE Cost?” requires a little more context.
GRE cost for just signing up : $160 or $190
No matter who you are, you will have to pay to take the GRE. So imagine you sign up without cracking open a single GRE book, and head straight to the testing center. You will spend: $160 if you live in the U.S., and $190 if you live outside the U.S. (This amount does not include transportation to and from testing center, or the much needed banana two hours into the test).
Most people opt to do a little more than just sign up for the test. Below are some additional costs you might incur when tackling the GRE.
GRE cost for the lean self-studier (Cost: < $20)
You can only buy one book and learn quite a bit – a good plan if you are a book learning without much to spend. Don’t just pick up any GRE book. Take a look at these reviews. With just one book, you’ll probably spend less than $20.
GRE cost for the ambitious self-studier (Cost: $150 – $200)
There is a wealth of helpful materials you will want to avail yourself of, if you aim to do well. For such a student, I’d recommend the following:
1. Manhattan GRE: However many of the eight books you need from their set. Buying just one will give you access to the practice tests.
2. Magoosh Math + Verbal (see pricing plans)
GRE cost for the classroom plan = Free – $4,000
There are free classes offered by some colleges. Typically, you have to be enrolled in the college. From what I’ve heard the classes are a bare bones meager approach, at best.
Then, there are MGRE classes for $4,000 a pop. You get access to MGRE material and methods, as well as experiences tutors who’ve score in the top 1%. There are Kaplan and Princeton Review courses, which are slightly cheaper (neither of which I recommend, based on student feedback over the last ten years).
GRE cost for a private tutor = $500 – $5,000
If you think the classroom format sounds like a mixed bag, here’s what you can expect from the tutors: Bob, whom you find off of Craigslist for $20/hr, has never taken the GRE, but once took the SAT. He tells you he is really good at math and shows you all these “tricks.”
Then there is a tutor with 15 years experience, who lives and breathes the GRE, has hundreds of glowing testimonials, and writes his/her own test questions (incidentally, you also found this tutor on Craigslist). Of course the latter tutor may cost you as much as $150/hr. Private tuition offered through MGRE or Kaplan can be even more expensive.
Class + tutor = $2,000 to $9,000
If you are very ambitious—and have very deep pockets—then this final path may describe you. To be frank, this plan—despite the cost— doesn’t always bear fruit. I have heard of students spending upwards of $6,000, only to have their scores move up by a single increment or two.
Yet if you really need to get a high score, and you notice that you are continually improving over the months, then this plan might make sense.
Ultimately, you have to see what works for you, so your GRE fees are up to you. I’d still recommend the self-study route first. If that doesn’t cut it, and you find yourself studying an hour a week, then look into a class or tutor. At that point though, expect to pay a lot more.