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Kaplan vs Princeton Review GMAT

A thorough comparison of the GMAT prep courses from Princeton Review and Kaplan (now Manhattan Prep)

About a decade ago, Kaplan acquired Manhattan Prep, a test prep company with a major GMAT emphasis. However, rather than folding Manhattan’s offerings into their own, Kaplan let them operate as a standalone entity with separate courses. That was, until now. Just recently, Kaplan has folded their GMAT course into Manhattan Prep’s, giving them a more robust combined course. We take a look in this post at how this new combined Manhattan Prep/Kaplan course stacks up with its biggest rival: Princeton Review.

  • Price
  • Video Instruction
  • Live Class Hours
  • Practice Questions
  • Practice Tests
  • Books
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Princeton Review GMAT Fundamentals SALE: 15% OFF Code: AZTEC15
    SALE: 15% OFF Code: AZTEC15
    Claim Discount
    • $1,399
    • 50+ Hours
    • 27
    • 3,000+
    • 10
    • Hardcopy & Digital
  • Kaplan GMAT Live Online 15% OFF Code: SAVE15GMAT
    15% OFF Code: SAVE15GMAT
    Claim Discount
    • $1,599
    • 35+ Lessons
    • 27
    • 4,000+
    • 6
    • Hardcopy

Outline: Princeton Review vs Kaplan GMAT

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

Review Video: Kaplan vs Princeton Review vs Manhattan Prep

In the video above, John from the Test Prep Insight team directly compares the GMAT prep courses from Princeton Review and Kaplan (Manhattan Prep), explaining how these prep options stack up. For more detail, be sure to continue reading our full, detailed comparison below.

Princeton Review GMAT Fundamentals

Princeton Review GMAT

  • Multiple Course Options
  • Higher Score Guarantee
  • Multiple Course Options
  • Higher Score Guarantee
Our Score

9.7

  • star
  • star
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Pros
  • Comprehensive and well-structured curriculum that gets results
  • Category best 10 full-length practice exams that closely replicate the real GMAT
  • Better practice problem explanations than Kaplan/Manhattan Prep
  • Live classes offer structure and deeper insights
  • Access to office hours with GMAT instructors
Cons
  • Video lessons not as good as Kaplan's
  • Not as many practice problems as Kaplan
Princeton Review GMAT Fundamentals
SALE: 15% OFF Code: AZTEC15

Reasons To Choose Princeton Review For GMAT Prep

To truly compare the GMAT prep courses from Princeton Review and Kaplan/Manhattan Prep, you must first understand all the different GMAT study materials and feayures that each company provides. As such, let’s start by covering what Princeton Review has to offer.

Princeton Review GMAT Options & Cost

Princeton Review offers three different prep options. The first, is a self-paced asynchronous online course priced at about $800.

The second is their Fundamentals course, and costs roughly $1,400.

Finally, the top level is the GMAT 700+, pricing out at around $2,000.

Each level offers over 50 hours of video instruction. The Fundamentals course offers 27 hours of live class instruction, while the 700+ level offers 47 hours of live instruction.

Princeton Review GMAT Drill builder
A look inside the Princeton Review GMAT course

With the Self-Paced and Fundamentals courses, you will have access to over 3,000 practice questions.

Even more practice questions are included with the GMAT 700+, where you will see more than 4,400. All three course options offer 10 full-length practice exams.

If you are seeking a more affordable GMAT prep course, be sure to check out Magoosh and Target Test Prep.

Course options and pricing current as of date of publication

Quality Of Princeton Review GMAT Study Materials

Princeton’s study materials are detailed and of high quality, with their curriculum broken down according to the various sections of the GMAT. Each section includes sub-modules that cover topics covered on the test, and they leave nothing out.

In fact, the topics covered are so comprehensive that I was a little overwhelmed at first.

Still, between thorough video lessons, highly detailed explanations of every problem to help you understand your weak areas, and powerful adaptive test-taking drills, you’ll get a great deal of information to get you prepared.

I wasn’t thrilled with the overall quality of the video lessons, and there are no on-screen instructors to give you that face-to-face feeling. Rather, lessons are taught using slides with voice-overs.

That’s not necessarily bad, but for me, this type of delivery did not hold my attention. Don’t get me wrong, the actual content is extensive. I simply found it difficult to remain focused.

Princeton Review GMAT video lesson
Sample GMAT lesson from Princeton Review

The suite of more than 3,000 practice problems allows you to create your own customized exams, or you can let the system optimize one for you based on your performance.

The practice exams are computer adaptive, just like the real test, so you’ll get a close approximation of the test experience.

The full practice tests are set up to mirror the official GMAT, right down to the look and feel of the digital interface, with dead-on questions that closely mimic the questions on the real test in terms of structure and content.

I liked that after each test, I received a detailed breakdown of my performance so I could concentrate my efforts on areas where I needed the most work.

Finally, the print GMAT prep books that come with Princeton Review’s GMAT courses come straight from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) itself, which means you have access to the most authoritative source on what you need to know.

These books are valuable resources, and I liked knowing that I was studying with official practice questions.

It should be noted though, that these books don’t always fit hand in hand with the Princeton Review curriculum, so I wouldn’t recommend them as your only resource.

They are a great supplement resource but I think they would be best used in conjunction with Princeton Review’s practice questions and materials.

Course Highlight: Live Instruction

If the video lessons leave something to be desired, the live instruction classes make up for it tenfold. First of all, Princeton Review’s live courses are unique in that they are offered in addition to their online content.

Each instructor has more than 37 hours of training, and they have all been top GMAT scorers. This makes them top-notch instructors who are passionate and enthusiastic about what they do.

Princeton Review GMAT lecture
Princeton Review is a fantastic GMAT prep option

For me, the ability to interact with the instructor and ask questions during the lesson was worth the added cost for the live instruction. I liked the exchanges that I was able to have with my teacher and classmates.

At first, I was a little apprehensive about my instructor. She started off ultra-professional, and left a standoffish impression. It wasn’t long though, before she let down her guard and loosened up a bit.

Ultimately, I really felt that she wanted us to do well and the exam, and did everything she could to prepare us.

In my opinion, these online instruction sessions make it well worth upgrading to the mid-level course, at least for your Princeton review prep.

It’s worthwhile to have these lessons as an added benefit to the rest of the top-notch resources to which the program offers access.

➡ Read our full Princeton GMAT prep review

Kaplan GMAT Live Online

Kaplan / Manhattan Prep

  • Several Course Options
  • GMAT Mobile App
  • Several Course Options
  • GMAT Mobile App
Our Score

9.2

  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
Pros
  • Engaging, high-quality video lessons that are better than Princeton's
  • Massive amount of study material for those that learn best by "doing"
  • Detailed GMAT prep books
  • 1-on-1 pre-and-post exam assessments with GMAT instructor
  • Mobile app for busy students on-the-go
Cons
  • Thin practice problem explanations that lack compared to Princeton's
  • Live online classes are good, but Princeton's are better
  • Wish there were more GMAT practice tests
Kaplan GMAT Live Online
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Reasons To Choose Kaplan/Manhattan Prep For GMAT Prep

Now that you have a better sense for what Princeton Review has to offer, let’s turn the tables and discuss what the combination of Kaplan and Manhattan Prep bring to the table in terms of GMAT preparation.

Kaplan/Manhattan Prep GMAT Prep Options & Pricing

The Kaplan/Manhattan Prep GMAT Prep courses are offered in several different formats. Here are your options and pricing:

  • On Demand – $999
  • Advanced – $1,399
  • Live Online – $1,599
  • In Person – $1,899
  • Bootcamp – $2,599

These packages all offer over 35 video lessons and over 4,000 practice questions, as well as access to a seven hour foundations of GMAT math workshop. And course, every option except for the On Demand and Advanced courses offer some degree of live classes.

In comparison to Princeton Review, the Kaplan/Manhattan Prep courses are slightly more expensive.

Kaplan offers private GMAT tutoring packages as well in case you need more personalized instruction.

Course options and pricing current as of date of publication

Evaluation Of The Kaplan/Manhattan Prep GMAT Coursework

Like Princeton Review, the study materials from Kaplan and Manhattan Prep are first-rate.

We particularly like the GMAT lessons from Kaplan and Manhattan Prep because they are interactive and adaptive. The lessons pause to ask you questions, adapt to your knowledge level on specific topics, and include funny little cartoons.

And one of the biggest reasons why their lessons are so effective is due to the high-quality nature of their videos. Unlike the video lessons from Princeton Review, the Kaplan/Manhattan Prep lessons actually feature an instructor on-screen.

Overall, we definitely prefer the Kaplan video lessons over those from Princeton Review.

Manhattan prep gmat practice test
GMAT practice problem example

Beyond the core lessons, Kaplan also provides over 4,000 practice problems that closely resemble the real exam. Working in the background, Kaplan uses a program called GMAT Navigator to track your progress and provide explanations to their GMAT practice problems.

The Navigator tool breaks down each practice problem and provides clear rationale for each answer choice. That said, our team thought the practice problem explanations from Princeton Review were better.

All in all though, our team was very impressed with the GMAT coursework from Kaplan, particularly their video-based lessons.

Highlight: Video Lessons

No question the highlight of the Kaplan GMAT courses are their video lessons. In my opinion, they are the best in the entire GMAT prep industry.

The video lessons take the form of a digital whiteboard with the instructor appearing on-screen, while notes and graphics appear around them. And the lessons will even pause from time to time to ensure you are paying attention and understand the concept being covered.

Manhattan Prep gmat lesson
Example GMAT video lesson

Plus, the way in which the Kaplan GMAT instructors convey the material really helps with retention. Anytime I was completing a practice test and came across a specific topic or concept, my mind was immediately drawn back to the graphics from the video lesson.

The substantive content covered in the lessons are also top-notch. They cover every topic and concept tested on the GMAT, and I like how the lessons build on one another.

➡ Read our full Kaplan GMAT prep review here

Princeton Review GMAT Fundamentals
SALE: 15% OFF Code: AZTEC15

Verdict: Princeton Review Or Kaplan For GMAT Prep?

So, which is better for your GMAT prep, Princeton Review or Kaplan? Choosing between these two is difficult, especially when considering the similarities in their course components and features.

However, at the end of the day, despite the strengths of the new combined Kaplan/Manhattan Prep course, our team still favors Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review GMAT course overall is better designed and more comprehensive, on the whole. For us, it seemed to be the more effective prep option.

But, in case you are still on the fence, here is a recap:

Pricing: Edge: Princeton Review. When it comes to pricing, the edge clearly goes to Princeton Review. Their price points at each level of instruction are more affordable. In fact, Princeton’s top-level course (GMAT 700+) costs about the same as Kaplan’s mid-level Complete Course.

Study Materials: Edge: Kaplan/Manhattan Prep. Mostly equal in terms of the comprehensive study materials provided, it all came down to the video lessons. The edge goes to Kaplan. Their interactive lessons are delivered by enthusiastic teachers in videos that are of exceptional quality.

Classes & Live Instruction: Edge: Princeton Review. Though Kaplan’s live classes are certainty good, Princeton Review takes the edge here. Taught by highly skilled instructors, their live classes are engaging and highly effective in delivering the content needed to pass the exam.

GMAT Prep Books: Tie. Both companies provide helpful, high-quality prep books to supplement their online coursework. At the end of the day, there is no clear winner in this category.

Practice Tests: Edge: Princeton Review. This was a tough choice, but ultimately the edge goes to Princeton Review. Not only does Princeton Review offer more practice tests, but their practice test questions are more accurate in representing the questions you will likely see on test day. Plus, their practice problem explanations are better than Kaplan’s too.

User Experience: Edge: Princeton Review. This was another close call, but Princeton Review edges out Kaplan here too. The intuitive structure of the learning platform is straightforward, making it user friendly and extremely easy to navigate.

Content Access Period: Edge: Kaplan. In terms of content access, the edge is all Kaplan. Princeton gives access to any of its three levels for 120 days, while Kaplan gives you access for six months plus the length of the course (if you sign-up for one of their live class options).

When it’s all said and done, both Kaplan/Manhattan Prep and Princeton Review offer outstanding GMAT courses with comprehensive resources and top-notch prep materials. If you want more information, check out our researched analysis of the Best GMAT Prep Courses here.

➡ READ NEXT: PrepScholar GMAT Review

FAQ

How much do the Kaplan and Princeton Review GMAT prep courses cost?

The GMAT prep options from Kaplan range in price from around $1,000 for their self-paced course to about $2,600 for their most intensive program. Princeton Review’s GMAT prep courses start at about $800 for their self-paced plan and increase up to around $2,000 for their highest GMAT 700+ program.

What is the biggest difference between the Kaplan and Princeton Review courses?

Generally speaking, the GMAT prep plans are quite similar. Their differences all come down to the delivery of instruction. Kaplan’s excels with their high-quality video lessons, while Princeton Review’s strength lies in their live class instruction.

Do the Kaplan and Princeton Review GMAT courses come with prep books?

Yes, both prep courses include prep books that we found to be high-quality and helpful.

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