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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, but decided to keep their GMAT courses separate. That’s all changed. Recently, Kaplan has folded their GMAT Focus course into Manhattan Prep’s, giving them a more robust, combined prep program. 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
  • Practice Questions
  • Practice Tests
  • Books
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Manhattan Prep GMAT On Demand Course Sale: 10% OFF Code:PREP10MGMAT
    Sale: 10% OFF Code:PREP10MGMAT
    Claim Discount
    • $850
    • 25+ Hours
    • 4,000+
    • 6
    • Hardcopy & Digital
  • Princeton Review GMAT Self-Paced SALE: 15% OFF Code: AZTEC15
    SALE: 15% OFF Code: AZTEC15
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    • $799
    • 50+ Hours
    • 4,400+
    • 4
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Outline: Princeton Review vs Kaplan GMAT

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

Video: Kaplan GMAT or Princeton Review?

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

Manhattan Prep GMAT Live Course


  • Self-Paced or Live Classes
  • Includes Prep Books
  • Self-Paced or Live Classes
  • Includes Prep Books
Our Score


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • Engaging, high-quality video lessons that are better than Princeton Review's
  • Small-group live classes for extra personalized attention
  • Six mock exams with official questions from past exams
  • Detailed GMAT prep books that are integrated into the course
  • Organized course structure that is intuitive and easy to follow
  • Foundations of Math pre-course for those weak in quant
  • Must jump back and forth between books and portal to review problems
  • Progress tracking log is cumbersome to fill-in and follow
Manhattan Prep GMAT Live Course
Sale: 10% OFF Code: PREP10MGMAT

Reasons To Choose Kaplan/Manhattan Prep For GMAT Prep

Let’s start by looking at what Kaplan/Manhattan Prep brings to the table in terms of GMAT preparation.

Advantage: Smart Course Structure

For us, the biggest highlight of the Kaplan GMAT prep program is the course structure. Kaplan has built its course to be completed in 12 weeks (or 16 weeks if you elect to complete their Foundations of Math pre-course upfront).

Each week starts with a live class or set of video lectures (depending on your course format), with reading assignments and practice problem sets following that. Moreover, every few weeks you will need to take a practice test and then review your answers.

Manhattan Prep GMAT Dashboard
The program dashboard

The course syllabus (powered by Atlas—fancy name), is detailed, easy to follow, and directs you through everything you need to learn in digestible chunks on a week-by-week basis. It offers a nice balance of hand holding and guidance, with the ability to flex your coursework around based on strengths and weaknesses. Whoever curated this course curriculum is a guru.

Advantage: Official Practice Material

Since the rollout of the new Focus version of the GMAT, Kaplan now licenses their practice tests and questions directly from the makers of the exam, GMAC.

This means that every problem you practice on within the program has been used on a real, past GMAT. There are no mock or replicated questions. Everything is 100% authentic.

This is something we always give a huge ratings boost for, as it is the best practice work money can buy. Props to Manhattan Prep/Kaplan for paying up for this.

Also, the problem explanations they have crafted to accompany each licensed question are fantastic. They are insightful and offer some truly actionable takeaways. In short, Kaplan reigns supreme when it comes to practice material.

Advantage: Video Lectures

There is no question that one of the highlights of the Kaplan GMAT course is 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 off to the side. They draw on screen with a stylus, stop to ask questions, and efficiently break concepts down.

Manhattan Prep GMAT Video Lectures
Kaplan video lecture

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 video lesson.

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

Advantage: GMAT Prep Books

Our team also gives the edge to Kaplan when it comes to prep books. Now, to be clear, both Princeton Review and Kaplan provide their students a bundle of hardcopy prep books, and the books from both companies are top-notch. They are well-written and super thorough. Both even provide the Official Guide.

Manhattan Prep GMAT Problem Solutions
Typical problem explanation

However, our team gives Kaplan the win because they better integrate their books into their courses and study plans. The Princeton Review prep books are more so used a bonus resource or complement to their courses.

Advantage: Content Access Period

The last win in favor of Kaplan is pretty simple: content access period. The Kaplan courses come with 6 months of access, whereas Princeton Review’s courses only include 120 days of access.

As such, if you are a busy professional and need to spread your studying out over an extended period of time, or you plan on taking the GMAT multiple times, then this may push Kaplan over the edge for you.

👉 Read our full Kaplan GMAT prep review here

Princeton Review GMAT Core Concepts

Princeton Review

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


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • Fantastic live classes for those needing structure and deeper coverage
  • Comprehensive and well-structured curriculum that gets results
  • 4 full-length practice tests that closely replicate the GMAT Focus
  • Solid practice problem explanations
  • Engaging module-based approach to learning
  • Access to office hours with GMAT instructors
  • On demand video lessons lack production quality (a bit dry)
  • Books are good, but aren't well integrated into the course
Princeton Review GMAT Core Concepts
SALE: 15% OFF Code: AZTEC15

Reasons To Choose Princeton Review For GMAT Prep

Next, let’s cover why you may want to go with Princeton Review for your GMAT Focus prep.

Advantage: Quality GMAT Study Materials

Princeton’s study materials are detailed and high-quality, with their curriculum broken down according to the various sections of the GMAT Focus. 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 package of more than 4,400 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 Focus, 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.

Princeton Review GMAT lecture
Princeton Review GMAT lecture

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.

Advantage: Cost

Princeton Review beats Kaplan in possibly the most important category, cost. Well, at least as it pertains to live classes.

If you compare the live online course options and their respective prices from both companies, you’re looking at around $850 in savings total by opting to go with Princeton Review. That’s a good chunk of change.

Advantage: Bonus Study Resources

Princeton Review also provides some pretty attractive bonus resources for students, including live office hours and email assistance from teachers.

Princeton Review GMAT lesson plan
Princeton Review GMAT lesson plan

In my opinion, both of these features are a nice safety net to have in case you don’t understand a specific concept or testing strategy, or you just get stuck on a practice problem. The fact that you are able to quickly email a GMAT tutor or log into an office hours session is definitely a major plus.

Advantage: GMAT Score Guarantees

Lastly, Princeton Review wins as far as score guarantees go. With the company’s Self-Paced and Core Concepts courses, students get a higher score guarantee or your money back.

However, with Princeton Review’s 645+ course, it includes what its name implies—a guarantee that you will score 645 or better on the GMAT or you get your money back, which is obviously a great option for students eyeing admission into a top-25 MBA program.

Now to be clear, these guarantees do come with some fine print, so be sure to check that out prior to purchasing, but for the most part, these are some of the best score guarantees in the GMAT space, especially considering Kaplan does not offer any sort of score guarantee with their courses.

👉 Read our full Princeton GMAT prep review

Manhattan Prep GMAT Live Course
Sale: 10% OFF Code: PREP10MGMAT

Verdict: Princeton Review or Kaplan For GMAT Prep?

Time to answer the big question—should you choose Princeton Review or Kaplan to help you prepare for the GMAT?

Honestly, it’s a very difficult decision between these two companies. These are easily the two best prep courses in the entire GMAT prep industry. At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong either way.

Ultimately, however, I think the decision boils down your budget and learning style. I’d say if you are on a budget and you want live classes, then Princeton Review is the way to go.

On the flip side, if you are more of a visual learner or you need a structured study plan, then I’d say Kaplan/Manhattan Prep would be the choice with their engaging video lessons, official practice material, and smart course design.

That’s really what I recommend basing your decision off of, but I guess if I had to choose just one, it would be Manhattan Prep powered by Kaplan.

👉 READ NEXT: PrepScholar GMAT Review


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

The GMAT prep options from Kaplan range in price from around $850 for their self-paced course up to about $1,850 for their most intensive program with live classes. 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 645+ program.

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

Generally speaking, the GMAT prep programs from both companies are quite similar, but the main differences come down to the delivery of instruction. Kaplan excels with their high-quality video lessons, while Princeton Review excels with affordable live classes.

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, detailed and helpful.