Test Prep Insight is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Kaplan OAT Prep Review
Our detailed review of the OAT prep course from Kaplan
When preparing to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), a lot of students turn to Kaplan given their name recognition and deep experience. But there’s a lot more to it than just being a major prep provider. In this detailed and first-hand review, we explore the strengths and weaknesses of the Kaplan OAT course after having a chance to use the program. We discuss study material effectiveness, course structure, and a lot more.
As this is a long, comprehensive review, we’ve included a jump-to table of contents above for your convenience.
Kaplan OAT Course Overview (How It Works)
Before diving into the nitty gritty detail of what we thought of this Kaplan course, let’s begin by discussing how the Kaplan course works.
At a high level, the Kaplan OAT study materials are broken out into different “courses” for each of the six subjects tested on the exam. In other words, there is a course for each of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, reading comprehension, physics, and quantitative reasoning. Plus, there’s also a bonus seventh course that covers test strategy.
In any event, within each subject-based course, there are a number of modules to complete. Some courses have just a couple modules to work on, while others (such as biology) have closer to 10 modules.
Nonetheless, each module is made up of a bunch of different assignment types and study material. Just about every module starts with having you read a chapter from the accompanying Kaplan e-book, and from there, there are a mix of tasks.
You will be prompted to watch video lessons, work quizzes of varying difficulty, read through “ReKaps” (quick explainers designed to be like condensed notes), and occasionally review 3D models.
Honestly, it’s a very healthy mix of assignments in each module. However, that’s just the self-paced materials. Around these tasks, Kaplan also offers several live classes per week.
These optional classes are more like livestreams on specific test topics and you can drop in and out as you want. For reference, you can find those on the calendar on the dashboard.
Finally, near the middle to end of the course, you’ll start being assigned full-length mock exams. Those are purposefully back-weighted as you get closer to exam day.
Now, if that all sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. Kaplan is definitely one of the more comprehensive and material intensive courses we’ve reviewed.
Kaplan OAT Cost Breakdown
Next, let’s briefly cover the different course options that Kaplan offers and how much they cost.
In short, Kaplan offers the same course called Limitless Prep, but in a few different options. In essence, it’s the same exact package but with different price points, all based purely on content access period.
You can choose Limitless Prep for 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. The 3-month version starts at $700 and it goes up to $1,600 for the 12-month version.
Thus, Kaplan is a couple hundred dollars more expensive than competitors. However, I would just note that Kaplan does frequently run sales and special promotions, and a lot of times you can find their packages on sale, so make sure to check for deals before buying.
What We Like About Kaplan OAT (Pros)
Having discussed how the program works and how much it costs, let me next give you a few things I really like about Kaplan before delving into the things I also didn’t care for.
Massive Amount of Study Material
The first thing that stands out about Kaplan’s course as compared to others is the sheer volume of study material. This is probably the most comprehensive prep course in the OAT prep industry.
Between the live classes, video lectures, reading assignments, high-yield ReKaps, quizzes, and full-length tests, it is just a ton of study material and resources. Kaplan covers more material in more ways than any other course we’ve reviewed.
I think the benefit of this is that it’s great for all types of learners. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a visual learner, text-based learner or a person that learns by doing. Kaplan pretty much covers all their bases from the perspective of instructional delivery, and you’ll never run out of material.
The Live OAT Classes
Another major highlight of this Kaplan prep program is the fact that they offer live classes. No other major prep provider does this.
Not even OAT Bootcamp, OAT Booster, or Princeton Review provide live classes. This is obviously an easy edge that Kaplan has over others.
Plus, even at that, the live classes are legitimately good. They’re all taught by subject matter experts for the topic you’re on, and they dive deep into the weeds, providing strategies for specific test sections and getting very granular on how to solve certain problem types. I personally think they’re a huge benefit.
Really Cool 3D Models
The third highlight to note here is the 3D models that Kaplan uses. This is a really cool feature.
To help explain a lot of topics, particularly in the biology and chemistry modules, Kaplan layers in 3D models which allow you to visualize what you’re learning.
The tech is superb, and I think for visual learners, it’s a major advantage. It is such an interactive and visceral way of engaging with the material and learning.
High-Yield Chapter Summaries
The last highlight here are Kaplan’s ReKaps. As noted above, these are brief summaries of the material you get in your reading assignments.
Kaplan basically takes each chapter and distills it down into the most critical, need-to-know info in slide format. It’s basically like a cheat sheet of the best info, and some even have graphics, which are really helpful.
Bottom line, I think these ReKaps are a great way to review high-yield info and drive home material from each unit.
What We Don’t Like About Kaplan OAT (Cons)
Moving on to the negatives of this course, I have just three noteworthy elements.
The first thing that jumped out at our team with this Kaplan program is poor course organization.
The issue, however, is that it’s just not a well-designed portal. On the dashboard, there are nothing but links over to the various courses with no real direction.
Not to mention, even the “to do” section on the right side isn’t really a list of things to do—it’s just a listing of the upcoming live class schedule. This makes things somewhat confusing.
Moving down the left-hand side of the portal, there’s a tab for courses, but again, that’s just a set of links over to the different courses. What’s more, even the calendar tab is just a calendar view of upcoming live classes—not assignments on your “to do” list.
You eventually get the hang of it, but basically, I just think Kaplan could spend some time cleaning up and fixing their portal to make it more user friendly and better organized.
Study Schedule Lacks Detail
Dovetailing off my first point, the Kaplan OAT study schedule was not my favorite. For one thing, it’s in a separate PDF rather than being integrated into the dashboard, which doesn’t make much sense to me.
For two, it’s not really that helpful. It gives you some very high-level guidance on what to be studying on a week-by-week basis, but it isn’t granular or directive in any way.
Although OAT Bootcamp and OAT Booster also use separate PDFs, at least their study schedules give you very clear, step-by-step instructions on what to be studying each day. Thus, this is another feature that Kaplan could fix.
The final negative with Kaplan’s course is that this program is largely textbook driven. They do give you all kinds of different mediums to learn, such as video lessons and classes, but at the end of the day, the Kaplan course book steers everything.
The modules in each course are all organized in alignment with the textbook chapters, and even the live classes generally track sections of the book. Plus, your chapter reading assignment is the first task in every module.
So this is definitely a book-driven course. This in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, and it does give the course a common thread, but for people that aren’t big textbook learners, it could be an issue.
Verdict: Is Kaplan OAT Prep Worth It?
After using and reviewing Kaplan’s OAT prep course, I think it is generally a very good course with rock solid materials. It might not be for everyone based on situation and budget, but overall, it gets high marks.
Here is who I would say Kaplan is best for. If you want or need live classes, whether because that’s how you learn best or you just need the accountability and commitment that comes with live classes, then go with Kaplan. This is a huge advantage they have over others.
Second, if you burn through study material and plan to really immerse yourself in your prep process for a couple of months, Kaplan is an awesome choice as they provide more study material than any other OAT course we’ve taken and reviewed.
On the flip side, however, if you’re just looking for a leaner course that’s perhaps a little cheaper and focuses on visual instruction like video lessons, then check out OAT Booster or OAT Bootcamp, as they’re both good options.
However, for super comprehensive prep coverage, I think Kaplan is a great choice. We give them a solid grade overall and have no hesitation recommending their course.
In our team’s opinion, yes. After using and reviewing Kaplan’s course, we were really impressed. The course curriculum is incredibly comprehensive, and their live classes are a game changer. There were a couple minor negatives, but overall, the pros far outweighed the cons.
How much do the Kaplan OAT prep courses cost?
Depending on which course option you select, your OAT prep course will cost somewhere between about $700 and $1,600. This is on the more expensive end of OAT prep, but we give Kaplan solid grades, so the price is justified.
Does Kaplan’s OAT prep come with a score guarantee?
Yes. If your score doesn’t increase, Kaplan will either refund your money or provide you with extended course access for free, your choice.