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Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE
See how the GRE prep courses from Manhattan Prep and Kaplan stack up against one another
Since prep books just don’t seem to cut it these days, it’s not surprising that many students turn to prep courses to give them the best shot at scoring high on the GRE. Although there are many GRE prep options out there, Kaplan and Manhattan Prep are widely considered two of the best. They also happen to be owned by the same parent company, which can further complicate your decision. Therefore, to help you determine which is the ideal option for you, we put the GRE prep courses from Manhattan Prep and Kaplan head-to-head to see which one wins.
For comparison purposes, Manhattan Prep offers three different course options as well, which we will cover in more detail in a few minutes.
However, on average, Kaplan’s courses are more affordable than those from Manhattan Prep. You’ll likely save anywhere from $50 to $600 by opting to go with Kaplan for your GRE prep.
Quality of Kaplan GRE Study Materials
Kaplan is a known leader in the test prep industry, and rightfully so. With their proven methods to prepare their students for success, it’s no surprise that their GRE course offers stellar resources and highly effective tools to help students gear up for the exam.
The high-quality video lessons are taught by excellent and engaging instructors who go out of their way to ensure that you understand the content being delivered. They never hesitate to revisit questions if the class doesn’t seem to understand the topic.
I really like that the instructors share test taking tips and strategies in addition to their lectures and problem-solving lessons.
It is obvious that Kaplan has spared no expense on the video lessons, as they are of high production quality with modern digital effects. Each video is followed by a quiz to assess your knowledge on the material just covered.
The quizzes are followed by detailed explanations of the answers so you can easily identify areas where you need to focus more of your attention.
The QBank feature that is included with Kaplan’s GRE course is an invaluable tool when it comes to your test prep. In fact, if their books weren’t so darn good, this QBank would be my favorite component of Kaplan’s course.
With over 2,500 practice questions at your fingertips, you can customize practice tests based on your own specific needs. I love the personalization that the QBank offers, and often found myself using it to build quizzes to attack my weakest areas.
You can customize your practice by topic and difficulty level, as well as if you want to be timed or not. The QBank is super easy to navigate and a highly effective study tool.
Kaplan GRE Channel
Our team is a big fan of the Kaplan GRE channel. We think it is one of the best aspects about the Kaplan GRE courses. The channel itself features bonus live classes that explore specific topics, testing strategies, and question types.
Plus, these bonus live classes are offered six days per week, so needless to say, you’ll likely never run out of GRE content with Kaplan. Also, if you can’t make the live sessions, the recordings are turned into on-demand videos so you can watch them at a later time.
Another cool thing about the recordings is that Kaplan provides these nifty filters so you can find videos based on topic, difficulty rating, and even specific GRE instructors that you may like.
All in all, the Kaplan GRE channel is just a super valuable resource, especially if you need extra assistance with a particular subject or question type.
GRE Practice Tests
Kaplan’s prep package gives you access to 7 full-length practice tests, which is more than almost any other GRE prep provider, including Manhattan Prep.
Even better, Kaplan’s practice exams are written in conjunction with the Educational Testing Service, so they are exactly like what you’ll experience when you sit down for the actual GRE.
In my opinion, Kaplan’s practice exams provide a true and accurate mirroring of the real exam, from duplicating the testing format to the computer adaptive questions.
Plus, Kaplan also offers what they call their “official test day experience”. Basically, how it works is that Kaplan allows students to complete one of their simulated GRE exams at an actual Pearson VUE test center.
This gives you the ability to practice just like it’s actually exam day. That way you feel more comfortable and relaxed when the time comes.
What sets Kaplan apart from all other services is their incredible print prep books. For me and others on our review team, having hardcopy books is crucial, and I think Kaplan’s textbooks are the cream of the crop.
You’ll get two hardcopy books that, for the most part, easily track with the live and online courses. This makes it very easy to follow along in the book as you maneuver through your lessons.
These books are well written and incredibly detailed. In fact, they are so painstakingly thorough and comprehensive that there is probably more material than you will ever be able to digest.
Some might see this abundance of printed content as overkill, but I find it exhilarating that so much information is at my disposal.
It should be noted that Kaplan’s books are also available as PDFs for those who prefer that format. For me, it is refreshing to find a prep course that still provides you the opportunity to learn with old school textbooks in a time when so many others relying on digital eBook content to get the job done.
With that said, the PDF’s have the same exceptional content as the printed material, so with either format you are getting first-rate content.
It is also worth noting that Kaplan includes a detailed set of hardcopy prep books with all of their course options, including their On-Demand course, whereas Manhattan Prep does not. They only include prep books with their GRE for MBA course, not their self-paced, Interact course.
GRE Score Guarantee
Kaplan offers a higher score guarantee, meaning if you complete one of the Kaplan GRE courses, and your score does not improve, you get your money back. Whereas Manhattan Prep, on the other hand, does not offer any sort of score guarantee for some reason.
Now that you have a good idea of what Kaplan has to offer, let’s turn the tables and talk about the highlights of the Manhattan Prep GRE courses.
Manhattan Prep GRE Options & Pricing
Manhattan Prep offers three different options for GRE prep:
The GRE Interact program begins at around $300, with 65+ video lessons and content access period of 1 to 6 months.
The GRE for MBA Course comes in at roughly $1,600 with 65+ video lessons, 27 live class hours, hardcopy books, and access to materials for the length of the course plus 6 months.
The Private Tutoring package costs around $2,500 and includes 10 hours of private one-on-one tutoring.
If you are looking for a more affordable GRE prep option, you may want to consider Magoosh.
Evaluation of Manhattan Prep GRE Coursework
When it comes to the quality of the coursework, Manhattan Prep is aces. From the on-demand option to the full classes, you’ll get a variety of modules to complete across progressive levels of difficulty.
They’re structured using a systematic approach that starts with learning, moves to drilling on the knowledge, and ends with a quiz to determine if you’ve learned what you need to know. This systematic approach is covered in more detail below.
Manhattan Prep touts that over 100,000 practice questions are included with each of their GRE course options. Yes, you read that right, over 100,000 practice questions.
This is a staggering amount practice questions, and is leaps and bounds more than any other company has to offer. In fact, there are so many practice questions that you’ll likely never see them all.
At first, the crazy amount of material made me pretty anxious. I felt overwhelmed, pressuring myself to do more and more. After all, there are 100,000 practice questions!
I pushed to get through as many as possible, but soon realized that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Once the overachiever in me gave in to the fact that I did not need to get through all available practice questions in order to perform well on the exam, I was in a much more relaxed frame of mind to continue with my studies.
With the two higher priced courses you will get a hard-copy study guide and exercise book to use in your prep. The base level has no book. For those book lovers and learners like me, this is a downside, especially if affordability is a big factor for you when choosing your prep.
For some, this might not be a big deal. I would just like to see the inclusion of books with the most affordable course option.
Manhattan Prep has a pretty impressive mobile app that gives you access to practice problems, quizzes, and flashcards on your mobile device. This is a good resource if you have breaks in your day that allow you some quick-hit study time.
Finally, with Manhattan’s GRE prep you will have access to 6 full length, computer adaptive practice tests that are designed to provide you with a real test taking experience prior to exam day.
Personally, I took 4 of these practice exams, and feel that while they didn’t exactly mimic the exam taking experience, they gave me a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Manhattan’s GRE video lessons are taught by instructors who are in the top 1% of all scorers on the exam, and it shows. Not only do they really know their stuff, but they deliver the content and share their knowledge in ways that make you believe that they really want you to succeed.
They also have a knack for making the lessons fun and playful. I liked that often times the instructor would tell funny stories or add humorous anecdotes. When studying difficult topics, I always welcome the humor and the relief in tension that the instructors provided.
The fun factor mentioned above is a big deal, and really what differentiates the Manhattan Prep lessons from competitors. All in all, if you’re more of a visual learner, I think you’ll really enjoy the Manhattan Prep GRE courses.
Hands down, the best thing about Manhattan’s GRE prep is their systematic approach to learning. Labeled “Learn It, Drill It, Prove It”, this three-step method applies to every level of your prep work, no matter which course you choose.
The core of the lessons, of course, is the “Learn It” section. It starts with diagnostics to determine where you are in your learning process. Once this baseline for your prep work is established you will go through a series of interactive video lessons on the topic at hand.
The lessons include your teacher breaking down problems over a whiteboard, quizzes to test your comprehension of the concepts, and an occasional cartoon or joke to provide a break in the tension of studying.
Next, you move into the “Drill It” portion of the class. In this step, you use drills similar to virtual flashcards to test what you’ve learned. You’ll work out a set of given problems and check each answer to see if it is correct or incorrect.
After working through a succession of these drills, you’ll be ready to move on to the final element in this 3-step approach.
In rounding out Manhattan Prep’s learning approach, your last step is “Prove It”. Here, you will take a quiz to determine if you satisfactorily learned the material presented in the first two steps. If you pass this test with at least a 90% score, you’ll be ready to continue moving forward with your lessons.
I really like this 3-tier concept. Basically, you learn the material through high quality, interactive video lessons taught by engaging instructors. Next you revisit the information you learned by drilling important topics.
Finally, you test your knowledge to determine if you’ve mastered the topic at hand. As simple as it sounds, it is highly effective should not be overlooked as the highlight to Manhattan Prep’s GRE course.
Ideal For MBA Hopefuls
If you are taking the GRE in order to hopefully get your MBA, then I highly recommend Manhattan Prep. Their premium course offering is specifically designed for students who fall into this category since their live classes focus more on advanced math topics.
As you can see, Kaplan and Manhattan Prep are two powerhouses when it comes to GRE prep.
Overall, their courses are similar in their content delivery, features, and overall prep, making it difficult to choose between the two. Both companies excel in terms of video lessons, live classes, and prep books.
Ultimately though, if our team had to choose one, it would be Kaplan. We just think Kaplan offers the better value given the low price points of their courses, not to mention the access to their GRE channel, the higher score guarantee, and the company’s official test day experience.
However, if you are taking the GRE in order to attend business school, then you should seriously consider Manhattan Prep’s GRE for MBA course.
Which GRE prep course costs more – Manhattan Prep or Kaplan?
On average, Kaplan’s courses are more affordable. For example, the prices for Kaplan’s Live Online course and Manhattan Prep’s equivalent course cost around $1,000 and $1,600, respectively.
What’s the biggest difference between the Manhattan Prep and Kaplan GRE prep courses?
Both courses have similar offerings. Their differences lie in the delivery of their instructional material. Manhattan Prep has a systematic approach to learning with their “Learn It, Drill It, Prove It” process, while Kaplan’s highlights are their unsurpassed prep books and practice exams.
Do Manhattan Prep and Kaplan include prep books with their GRE courses?
Yes. Both Manhattan Prep and Kaplan include high-quality, helpful prep books with their GRE courses.