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When applying for graduate school, there are so many different factors that can influence an admissions counselor’s decision. From your letters of recommendation to your undergraduate GPA and of course, your GRE score. We understand that preparing for the GRE can be a major barrier to some students, especially if they don’t know how to adequately prepare.
That’s why at Sojourning Scholar, we want to make the right resources accessible to all students. In our previous post, we did a general overview of some of the best GRE prep courses on the market. In the current series, we’re releasing in-depth reviews of each of our top picks.
This week, we’re covering Achievable GRE Prep. Our team has spent time using the Achievable platform to understand firsthand how the course works, the major benefits, any shortcomings, and more. By the end of this article, you should understand whether this GRE prep course is right for you.
Achievable GRE might be a lesser-known company, but its adaptive technology makes them stand out as a top GRE prep platform. Focusing both on content progress and memory progress, Achievable customizes your learning plan as you go through the course.
Is the Achievable GRE Prep Course right for you?
Who we recommend the course for:
- Students who want to study efficiently
- Those who want a personalized, yet self-paced approach
- Someone who enjoys reading a textbook electronically
Who we don't recommend the course for:
- Students who just want to take full-length practice tests
- Someone who prefers video lessons in a prep course
Achievable GRE Prep Overview
Achievable GRE offers one program for their test prep. This is a fully adaptive, self-paced program that students have access to for one year.
In addition, the Achievable platform can be accessed on mobile devices through their mobile-first website.
The expert instructors at Achievable also offer 1-on-1 tutoring, which can be purchased through their websites.
Achievable GRE prep course highlights
- Adaptive technology: Achievable uses artificial intelligence to build millions of unique practice tests for students based on their progress.
- Online textbook: The full-length online textbook gives students concrete resources to refer to throughout the course.
- Structured study plan: The Achievable GRE platform uses a 12-week study plan to start your prep.
- Money-back guarantee: 7+ point score increase on the GRE or your money back.
Although Achievable GRE does not use video lessons as many of its competitors, the lessons include practice questions spaced throughout the chapters to test your comprehension every step of the way. Personally, as someone who learns best by reading and practicing, I find the Achievable method high-quality.
Lessons are based on sections in the online textbook. When you open your dashboard on Achievable, you'll see your dashboard that shows content progress and memory progress. This is the core of the Achievable course.
The lessons start with an introduction to the platform. This reading section is quite lengthy, but there are also key points to summarize the text. We recommend reading the summary boxes for the first lessons and then referring back to the textbook as needed throughout your preparation.
One good thing about the Achievable lesson plan is that the Qualitative and Quantitative reasoning practices are interspersed. There are 89 textbook chapters dedicated to qualitative reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.
Achievable GRE prep uses semantic clustering for building vocabulary. This involves grouping vocabulary words with similar meanings together.
This approach is unique to Achievable because rather than providing specific definitions of each word, they focus on understanding the general concepts and applying them to the GRE.
After completing a semantic cluster section in the textbook, you will take a practice quiz to test your comprehension. The format is not the same as that of the real GRE. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it's meant to test your understanding of the content.
Quantitative sections are spaced throughout the textbook with topics ranging from plug-in problems, triangles, averages, percentages, and factoring, among other areas of focus. In addition, for practice problems covered in the chapter, Achievable provides videos demonstrating how to solve the problem step-by-step.
The topics build in difficulty as you move through the textbook. This ensures you get the basics down before moving to more advanced problems, which is an aspect we enjoyed when using the Achievable GRE platform.
Live classes and tutoring
Live classes and tutoring are not available directly through the Achievable platform. However, one section on the Achievable GRE platform directs you to instructors' personal tutoring websites.
When I followed the link for one of the tutors, I was given the option to enroll in an in-person course for the GRE, not necessarily private tutoring.
However, the instructor’s contact information is available so you can reach out to find out about rates for private tutoring.
The Achievable online platform is very intuitive. The main dashboard shows you everything you need to complete your preparation for each study session.
Before you purchase the Achievable GRE program, you can access the main page of the platform to ensure that everything makes sense. Furthermore, the introductory lessons provide useful information about how to best navigate the platform.
Our favorite part of the platform is the main dashboard with your memory and content progress. An example of what that looks like is shown in the image below:
The content progress on the left shows which content you have completed in the textbook, while the memory progress on the right shows your comprehension based on the quizzes between chapter sections.
Some of the practice quizzes, like those for the semantic clusters, are several questions long to reinforce the concepts. On the other hand, some of the quantitative sections only include one question in the quiz, which we thought left room for improvement.
Each of the lesson quizzes gave you the option to view the full explanation, but it would be better if there were at least two quantitative problems in the quizzes, even for the very short lessons.
Review of Achievable GRE Practice Questions & Tests
Practice questions in lessons and drills
Throughout your time using the Achievable GRE platform, you have the option to review with practice questions. This is available on the right part of your dashboard above the memory progress chart.
One good thing about this part of the Achievable platform is you can customize the settings. For instance, you can set the number of questions per section, repeat math formula questions, and turn off personalization to randomize the order of questions.
We've included an example of what this looks like in the image below:
As you can see, you can choose between 10, 25, 50, or 100 questions in a batch. This is because the AI technology that Achievable uses randomizes questions based on templates. This is how they can advertise that they have millions of questions.
It’s true - there are almost an infinite number of possibilities, but one thing I noticed was that the quantitative questions I missed in the chapter were repeated in the quiz with different numbers.
In our opinion, this is a good thing because you can quiz yourself on the concepts you don't know as many times as it takes to learn them.
Additionally, there is an icon that allows you to share a quiz with others. This allows you to hold accountability if you are studying with a tutor or other support member.
Full-length practice test experience
There are no full-length practice tests offered on the Achievable platform. However, they do provide 10+ practice sections. You can take a full-length quantitative reasoning, verbal, or analytical writing section.
These practice sections are timed like the real GRE and at the end you are given a predicted score based on your performance.
Based on our research, the Achievable GRE predicted scores are some of the most accurate in the industry, with over 97% accuracy overall.
The practice questions are very comparable to those on the real GRE. The difficulty varies as it does on the actual exam and the format of the questions is similar.
However, we found the navigation a bit difficult. For instance, you need to scroll to read some of the questions on a desktop computer. Also, reading passages often require you to click on another window to see the text. In addition, when there are multiple fill-in-the-blanks, it isn't clear at first that you need to hit a button to go to the next blank rather than the next question.
Overall, the practice test experience is positive, but for those who are looking for a full-length practice test, Achievable might not be the right fit.
Quality of answer explanations
The answer explanations for the practice tests aren't necessarily poor, but they're not as comprehensive as we hoped. We thought there would be a few video explanations similar to when they went through practice questions in the textbook. Unfortunately, each answer explanation is simply written out in a paragraph for the verbal reasoning sections, which we found to be a detriment.
We found that the explanations in the drills and lessons were much more comprehensive. This might be a flaw in the program, or it might be a way of getting students to read the textbook thoroughly and then refer back to it as needed.
Within the Achievable platform, you can click on the Community tab, which will take you to a message board for all things related to Achievable. When you arrive, you can select the GRE-specific forum.
There are tons of questions from other students and conversations about the GRE prep within the forum, which foster engagement and a sense of community.
Based on the history, it seems that an Achievable instructor will respond to questions within a day.
One question that came up was about extending the program. Someone from the company replied very quickly with a generous offer to extend the student’s program for another year, which we think is a great sign of the support they offer.
In addition to the GRE-specific forum, there are sections for site feedback, introductions to the community, career advice, and other uncategorized topics.
While this isn't live chat support, we found that this forum was more effective in answering common questions and allowing students to search for answers to other questions that came up for someone else in the past.
Achievable GRE Pricing
The cost for 1-year access to the Achievable GRE platform is $199. There are no payment plans for the course and no discounts frequently available on their website.
At this single price point of $199, the Achievable GRE is quite affordable when compared to other GRE prep course on the market. And they are proud of the value they pack in their course at such an affordable rate.
Other Features and Resources
The Achievable platform is easily available on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. All you have to do is navigate to https://app.achievable.me. All your progress will be saved and you can access everything on the mobile-first website.
The mobile learning option is awesome because the textbook sections are so short that you can read a five-minute lesson while you're waiting for an appointment or on a break.
It’s incredibly easy to navigate on a smartphone and we feel that the textbook reading is actually easier on the phone than on a laptop.
Trial, Score Improvement, and Money Back Policies
Availability of free trial
You can sign up for Achievable GRE prep for free with no credit card. However, this is a very limited trial. There doesn’t seem to be a time limit for the trial, but they track how much content you access and eventually you will hit a screen that tells you you’re out of free content and prompts you to purchase the course.
In our opinion, this policy works well because it allows you to see the textbook and even try out a few quizzes before you purchase the full program.
Score increase guarantee
If you don’t improve your GRE score by 7 points or more, you are eligible for a 100% refund on the Achievable GRE prep course. Of course, much like the competitors, Achievable has a few stipulations for this policy. There are four main requirements, which we list below:
- You must have already taken the GRE before enrolling in Achievable’s GRE course
- Your before score must be valid according to ETS (specifically, within the past 5 years)
- You must submit your before score within the first 7 days of purchasing the Achievable GRE program
- You must take the GRE within one month of using Achievable's GRE course
Money back policy
In addition to the score increase guarantee, Achievable offers an unconditional 7-day money-back guarantee. Outside of this 7-day period, Achievable would issue a refund on a case-by-case basis.
So, if you've purchased the course and you're not satisfied at any other point in time, you can contact Achievable to review your case for a refund.
How Does Achievable GRE Prep Course Compare to Other Courses?
We know there are a lot of GRE prep courses available and it can be hard to know the differences between them. We’re making it easier by comparing each of the top GRE prep options in the section below.
Check out how Achievable GRE prep compares to Magoosh, The Princeton Review, and PrepScholar.
Also, if you’re looking for more information about how the different programs stack up, check out our overview of the best GRE prep courses.
Achievable GRE prep vs Magoosh GRE prep
- Magoosh offers video lessons, but Achievable's platform is all text-based
- Magoosh's plan allows for 6 months of access, while Achievable's is 12 months
- Magoosh has 3 full-length practice test, but Achievable only has individual practice sections
- Magoosh support records directly via email, but Achievable's community forum offers more information
- Magoosh offer live drop-in classes, but Achievable is exclusively a self-paced program
- Learn more about this option in our comprehensive Magoosh GRE review.
Achievable GRE prep vs The Princeton Review GRE prep
- The Princeton Review offers a 14-day free trial, while the length of Achievable’s free trial is based on the amount of content you review in the trial platform.
- The Princeton Review offers more than just the self-paced course. They have structured classes, whereas Achievable is exclusively a self-paced platform.
- Achievable’s course is much more affordable, with a one year of access for $199 vs. The Princeton Review’s self-paced option for $499
- The Princeton Review includes 8 full practice tests, while Achievable doesn’t include full-length tests
- The Princeton Review course does not use the adaptive AI technology that Achievable has access to.
- Read more in our review of The Princeton Review GRE Prep
Achievable GRE prep vs PrepScholar GRE prep
- PrepScholar offers two full-length practice tests, while Achievable doesn’t offer full-length tests
- which falls short of the three full practice tests available with a Magoosh GRE prep plan.
- PrepScholar doesn’t include a course textbook, while Achievable has a full-length online textbook with 89 chapters
- Achievable uses adaptive AI technology to generate millions of questions, but PrepScholar is limited to around 1,500 questions.
- Achievable allows students to get their essays graded at no additional cost, but PrepScholar requires students to purchase the lifetime plan to get essays graded. Even then, students are limited to 4 essays, while Achievable allows unlimited essays graded.
- Learn more in our full PrepScholar GRE review.
Achievable GRE Prep FAQs
We tried to cover everything in our review, but we know that other questions come up. Based on our searches of other FAQs about Achievable’s GRE prep platform, we came up with the following common questions:
Is Achievable GRE prep good?
Even though Achievable is a lesser-known company, its advanced technology sets them apart from the competition. With millions of questions randomized for drills and quizzes, Achievable GRE prep provides the greatest number of resources.
Based on our experience with the platform, Achievable GRE prep stands up to some of the bigger companies like The Princeton Review, Magoosh, and Kaplan.
What GRE prep course is best?
The short answer is, that it depends. Everyone learns differently and that's why there are so many GRE prep course options out there.
For instance, if you learn best by reading, then Achievable should be at the top of your list, but if you prefer to watch videos, Magoosh might be a better fit. In addition, sometimes students require a more structured course, and in that case, The Princeton Reviews structured classes might be best.
Does Achievable have an app?
Achievable GRE prep does not have an app, but their website is designed as mobile-first, meaning the UX is great on smartphones and tablets. You can access all your course materials and do your drills and practice tests on a mobile device with ease.
In addition, your progress syncs automatically so you never feel like you’re missing something by switching from desktop to mobile with the Achievable GRE platform.