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Kaplan vs The CE Shop

Determine which online real estate school is best between The CE Shop and Kaplan

The first step in becoming a real estate professional is to complete the required pre-licensing education in your state. However, in order to do so, you’ll likely need to purchase a pre-licensing course from an approved vendor. But with so many choices, how do you choose? In this comparison, we discuss the pros and cons of two popular online real estate schools (Kaplan and The CE Shop) to hopefully make your decision much easier.

  • Price
  • Video Instruction
  • Practice Questions
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • The CE Shop SALE: 30% Off Code: TESTPREP30
    SALE: 30% Off Code: TESTPREP30
    Claim Discount
    • $$ (Budget)
    • Yes
    • Included
  • Kaplan Real Estate DEAL: 15% OFF Applied In Cart
    DEAL: 15% OFF Applied In Cart
    Claim Offer
    • $$$ (Moderate)
    • Yes
    • Included

Outline: The CE Shop vs Kaplan

Given that this is a lengthy, detailed comparison, we’ve included jump-to links above for your convenience.

Video Review: Kaplan Or The CE Shop?

In the above video, Test Prep Insight team member John explains our thoughts on how these online real estate schools stack up. Please keep reading for more detail.

The CE Shop

The CE Shop

  • Four Course Options
  • Pass Guarantee
  • Four Course Options
  • Pass Guarantee
Our Score


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • Courses are more affordable than Kaplan's on average
  • Engaging lesson format that utilizes multiple delivery methods
  • Modern, easy-to-use digital platform
  • Detailed performance reports help you identify your weak areas
  • Excellent customer service (available seven days per week)
  • No live class options
  • Wish The CE Shop offered a note taking tool
The CE Shop
SALE: 30% Off Code: TESTPREP30

Why The CE Shop Is Better Than Kaplan

To keep this comparison actually helpful for you, we are going to focus on the areas in which The CE Shop beats Kaplan and vice versa (as opposed to simply providing an overview of each). With that in mind, let’s start with The CE Shop – our team has them winning in four key categories.

Diverse Lesson Format

Next, our team really likes the lessons from The CE Shop. The company does a great job varying the content between text, animated videos, and interactive quizzes.

the ce shop video lesson
The CE Shop lessons include animated videos

You never know what’s around the corner when you click “next” within lessons, which is a major positive in our team’s opinion. This diverse approach to learning really helps hold your attention, and makes otherwise boring content somewhat interesting (similar to the AceableAgent lessons).

Courses Are More Affordable

First up, The CE Shop beats Kaplan when it comes to cost. To be clear, pricing between the two companies is close and it does vary by state, but for the most part, The CE Shop seems to be the more the affordable option between the two.

Also, it’s important here to focus on the net cost when comparing different pre-licensing packages. In other words, don’t look at the MSRP because both companies regularly offers sales and special promotions.

For example, in California, the most popular pre-licensing and exam prep package from The CE Shop costs around $160 after discounts, whereas the comparable package from Kaplan after discounts costs around $300.

Therefore, generally speaking, you’ll likely save anywhere from $50 to $150 by going with The CE Shop for your real estate education needs.

Detailed Performance Reports

The next highlight for The CE Shop has to do with their exam prep. More specifically their analytics and detailed score reports.

How it works is that after you complete the necessary pre-licensing course, and you start to review the material and complete practice questions to prepare for your national and state exams, The CE Shop will keep track of your performance and provide guidance on topics that you’ve already mastered, where you need additional practice, and what you should focus on moving forward.

ce shop exam prep
Detailed performance report from The CE Shop

That way, you clearly know how to allocate your remaining study time to make gains as your exams approach.

Plus, what’s also kind of cool is that the CE Shop provides checklists, and alerts you when you performance exceeds certain milestones, essentially signaling that you are ready to sit for the real exam. Overall, our team was very impressed by the level of detail included in these reports.

➡️Also Worth Reading: The CE Shop vs Colibri Real Estate

Pass Guarantee 

Lastly, The CE Shop technically wins when it comes to guarantees. For most states, The CE Shop offers a pass guarantee, meaning if you fail your licensing exam, the company will reimburse you for the cost of the initial exam, which is usually in the $60 to $80 range.

Whereas Kaplan, on the other hand, only offers what they call their PassProtection Retake Policy, meaning if you do not pass, you can retake the Kaplan course, but you will not be reimbursed for the cost of the failed exam.

Now this may not be a big deal for some people, but it’s definitely worth mentioning since The CE Shop is technically giving you a nice $60 to $80 insurance policy.

For the record, Colibri Real Estate and AceableAgent offer generous pass guarantees as well.

➡️Want more detail? Read our full CE Shop review

Kaplan Real Estate

Kaplan Real Estate

  • Multiple Course Formats
  • PassProtection Retake Policy
  • Multiple Course Formats
  • PassProtection Retake Policy
Our Score


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • Video-based lessons (ideal for visual learners)
  • Knowledgeable and engaging instructors
  • Live class packages available for most states
  • Takes notes directly within the Kaplan learning platform
  • Custom quiz tool to help prepare you for your licensing exams
  • Courses are slightly more expensive than The CE Shop's
  • No money back guarantee
Kaplan Real Estate
DEAL: 15% OFF Applied In Cart

Why Kaplan Is Better Than The CE Shop

Now that you have a good understanding of the areas in which The CE Shop excels, let’s turn the tables and discuss the reasons to go with Kaplan for your real estate pre-licensing and exam prep needs.

Better Choice For Visual Learners

First, Kaplan is clearly the better choice for visual learners, and we say that because their lessons are primarily video-based. There’s very little text within their lessons, so you won’t be asked to read much. You can kick back, relax, and essentially just watch videos to complete the necessary pre-licensing credit hours.

kaplan real estate video lesson
Example video lesson from Kaplan

Plus, the Kaplan video lessons are pretty awesome. They take the form of a digital whiteboard in which an instructor appears on-screen guiding you through different topics, and as they speak, the screen behind them updates with notes, graphics, and examples.

Not to mention, the instructors themselves are fantastic. Our team was expecting some boring professor that simply reads from a teleprompter in a monotone voice, but that definitely wasn’t the case. The Kaplan instructors are energetic, cheerful, and do a great job of making boring material easy to understand.

Bottom line, if you process and understand information best through guided instruction and visual means, then Kaplan should be a good match for your learning style.

Live Class Options

The next win for Kaplan is the fact they offer live class options (similar to Colibri), whereas The CE Shop does not (they only offer self-paced, on-demand courses).

Therefore, if you’re the type of person who prefers learning in a classroom environment so you can interact with your peers and ask the instructor questions on the spot, or you simply need a live class schedule to help hold yourself accountable from a studying and discipline standpoint, then Kaplan is obviously the way to go between the two.

kaplan real estate webinar
The Kaplan Real Estate instructors are awesome

Also, just like with the company’s on-demand video lessons, we found the live Kaplan instructors to be just as knowledgeable and engaging.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Kaplan’s live classes are pretty affordable. For example, in California, the company’s live class bundle is only about $150 more than their on-demand package, so it’s not like you’ll have to drain your wallet if you want live instruction.

Helpful Notes Tool

Another nice aspect of the Kaplan real estate courses is that you can take notes directly within their learning platform.

How it works is that while you’re watching a video, if you don’t understand a particular topic or concept, or you simply want to take notes for retention purposes, all you have to do is click the bookmark feature and you can jot down as many notes, thoughts or reminders as you’d like.

kaplan real estate bookmark
Kaplan makes it easy to take notes during lessons

Plus, what’s nice is that from the main Kaplan dashboard, you can see all of your bookmarks and easily access your notes whenever you’d like.

Now to be clear, The CE Shop offers a bookmark feature as well, but sadly it doesn’t offer the same type of functionality since you can’t add custom notes (you can only flag sections to review later). Therefore, our team gives the win to Kaplan when it comes to note taking.

Custom Quiz Generator 

The last point in Kaplan’s favor has to do with their exam prep, and while we do like the detailed performance reports from the The CE Shop, we want to highlight’s Kaplan’s custom quiz tool.

kaplan real estate quiz
Create your own practice quizzes with Kaplan

It’s a super valuable resource to help you get ready for your national and state licensing exams. Basically how it works is that Kaplan allows you to create your own practice question sets. You can control the topics, the number and types of questions, whether you want a timer to simulate exam like conditions, etc.

That way you can really zero in and make improvements in the areas where you need additional practice so you feel confident going into test day.

➡️Want more detail? Read our full Kaplan Real Estate review

The CE Shop
SALE: 30% Off Code: TESTPREP30

Verdict: Which Online Real Estate School Is Best?

It is finally time to answer the question you’ve been waiting for – should you go with Kaplan or The CE Shop to help you get your real estate license?

Well, after reviewing and evaluating both company’s courses, the final scorecard is extremely close. The decision between these two online real estate schools ultimately boils down to two main factors – your budget and preferred learning method.

First, if money is your first priority (you want to save as much as you can), then The CE Shop will likely be the more affordable option, though it does vary by state.

Next, if you are more of a bookworm (i.e. you like to read), then once again go with The CE Shop since a good portion of their curriculum is delivered through text.

On the flip side, if you are more of a visual learner, or you prefer learning in a live class environment, then Kaplan is clearly the way to go.

However, if we were forced to pick one, our team agrees that The CE Shop is the superior real estate school. Not only are their courses and exam prep materials slightly more affordable, but we also like that the company offers a pass guarantee. Not to mention, The CE Shop lessons are extremely engaging and interactive.

➡️READ NEXT: The CE Shop vs AceableAgent


How do The CE Shop and Kaplan Real Estate schools compare?

Lesson format is likely the biggest difference between The CE Shop and Kaplan. The CE Shop lessons incorporate text and animated videos, whereas the Kaplan lessons are primarily video-based. Kaplan also offers live class options, whereas The CE Shop does not.

Which is better - The CE Shop or Kaplan Real Estate?

The decision between Kaplan and The CE Shop ultimately boils down to your budget and preferred learning method. Read our full comparison to find out which online real estate school is the best fit for your situation.

Does The CE Shop cost less than Kaplan?

Yes, on average, the pre-licensing and exam prep materials from The CE Shop are slightly more affordable than Kaplan’s. Though, it is important to note that pricing varies by state and the number of credit hours required.