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Kaplan OAT Prep Review
A robust review and analysis of the OAT prep courses from Kaplan
When preparing to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), many students turn to prep courses like Kaplan’s to help them prepare. After all, Kaplan is arguably one of the most respected names in exam prep, with decades of experience behind them and direct association with many different exam boards. But does their bank of practice questions, video instruction and personalized study plans deliver what it takes to help you ace the exam? We answer that question in this detailed review of the different Kaplan OAT prep courses.
Kaplan offers two different OAT prep options: a self-paced, on-demand course that starts at around $900, and a live online version with classes in an interactive classroom that costs about $1,200.
Both the self-paced and live online packages include hours upon hours of guided study materials, videos, Q&A sessions and more. With access to their bank of over 1,500 questions that can be customized specifically to your needs, and 7 full-length practice exams, you’ll be able to fine tune your studying in the areas where you need it. You will get access to topic-specific quizzes, and a series of interactive workshops that help you focus your attention on the most frequently tested areas. Finally, both options offer strategies to boost your scores by training you not just in what to know but how to approach the exam.
The Self-Paced option comes in two versions: the basic Self-Paced course and the Self-Paced PLUS, weighing in at around $900 and $1,300 respectively. In addition to the features included with all course options (and made mention to above), the Self-Paced offering adds 36 hours of recorded videos you can watch anytime you like. I found that I actually referred to these video lessons more often that I thought I would, and because they were prerecorded, I was able to go over lessons more than once if I felt that they needed another look.
For roughly $400 more, the Self-Paced PLUS gets you 3 hours of one-on-one tutoring with one of their expert tutors, as well as a self-paced Math Foundations course. While I didn’t take advantage of the Math Foundations feature, I can see where it would be quite helpful if you needed to focus some attention on boosting your math skills.
The Live Online course options essentially provide the same features as the Self-Paced choices. The core difference here is that your online instruction is live and synchronous in a fully interactive virtual classroom. This was the highlight of the course for me, as I learn best when I’m able to interact with a teacher and other students. I liked that I was able to ask questions and participate in class discussions in real time. My class met for twice a week for 3 hours each, however, their scheduling options offer flexibility. Depending on which enrollment schedule you choose, you can plan on class meetings anywhere from 1 to 4 times weekly, each for three hours. I loved that they had a weekend offering, giving me even more flexibility to work around my busy schedule.
As with the Self-Paced, the Live Online has two offerings: The basic Live Online and the Live Online PLUS, pricing out at around $1,200 and $1,600. The added cost with the Live Online PLUS comes with the added features of 3 hours of one-on-one tutoring and the self-paced Math Foundations Course. Initially, I was concerned that 3 hours of tutoring might not be enough. My tutor was amazing though, and in the end, 3 hours was just right for me. From a pricing standpoint, I think the added price for the tutoring that comes with the PLUS packages is a really good value. You don’t often find tutoring under $200 per hour.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication
Analysis of Kaplan OAT Prep Materials
All in all, our team found Kaplan’s OAT prep to be a comprehensive suite of resources. From a wealth of full practice exams to individual question banks, quizzes and interactive support, this program gives you a robust batch of options to ensure you make the most out of your test prep. Let’s break down and examine the materials in more detail.
The core of your program is a full online prep course, which comes in two different options: a self-paced, asynchronous option and a synchronous and fully interactive live option. If you are self-motivated and have a busy schedule, the self-paced option should fit your needs perfectly, as you can study anytime and anywhere.
The more full-featured Live Online course was my choice, as I prefer a definitive schedule and real time interaction with instructors and classmates. I liked having the ability to ask questions as the lessons were presented, and get immediate feedback. I felt that the instructor was exceptional, and that the testing strategies covered in class were critical components of the course. As far as the class schedule went, I loved that some of my classes were held on weekends, so I didn’t have to cram one more thing into my busy weekdays.
Whether you choose the self-paced or the live version, you’re getting over 120 hours of guided instruction in the form of video lessons. In my opinion, the production quality of the videos was good, but sometimes they were a bit on the boring side. With some of the material being dull by nature, I would like to see a little added humor or anecdotes to break up the monotony a bit. All in all though, the video content is comprehensive, and highly effective when you need to hone in on areas where you need improvement.
The question bank feature, known as Kaplan’s Qbank, contains over 1,500 carefully designed practice questions. This Qbank database is structured so you can precisely customize quizzes to meet your specific needs, based on question type, content, and difficulty level.
This was a great resource for me. I liked having the ability to design quizzes based on areas where I needed the extra practice, and not wasting time on areas where I didn’t need help. Also, 1500+ is a lot of questions, so it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter the same set of questions twice as you work through the study materials.
Whether you choose self-paced or live courses, you’ll get access to interactive workshops that allow you to directly address your questions and needs. These interactive workshops (similar to a recitation course in college) allow you to address areas of unique concern and sidebars that are of interest to your overall studies.
Kaplan OAT Practice Tests
As with any other exam, best way to prepare for the OAT is to practice, practice, practice. So, it’s a good thing that Kaplan’s practice exams are put together by certified experts in their field who are directly knowledgeable in the OAT itself. The questions you’ll encounter are very similar to those that have appeared on past versions of the test, and the content is continually updated.
Personally, I found the practice questions to very closely mimic the real exam questions. And did I mention that there are 7 full length practice exams? That’s a lot of practice tests! By the time I was finished with all 7, I felt confident that I had mastered the skills and concepts, and knew what to expect on the day of the actual test.
Kaplan OAT Prep Books
Across the board, Kaplan is renowned for their printed prep materials, and the prep book for the OAT exam is no exception. The biggest benefit for me was the critical reading section of the book. I believe it gave me the edge I needed when reading and responding to exam questions. Additionally, I found the included “cheat sheets” to be highly effective for last minute and on the go studying. Chock full of test specific information, additional tips, test-taking tricks, key concepts, practice questions and more, this is a valuable tool in your bag of resources.
Does Kaplan Offer OAT Tutoring Options?
Yes! If the 3 tutoring hours that are included with the PLUS packages aren’t enough for you, it’s good to know that Kaplan does offer private online tutoring options. Available in 10-, 20-, 30- or 40-hour packages, you will be paired with a tutor that is hand-picked specifically for you. I did not purchase the tutoring option myself, but if these tutors are anything like the one I had for 3 hours in my PLUS package, you won’t be disappointed in the quality of their expertise and instruction.
The pricing for tutoring packages starts at around $2,000 and moves upward incrementally from there. At first, it sounds a little expensive, but when you consider the fact that with the tutoring options you also have access to all of the resources in the full OAT course, you really do get a lot of bang for your buck.
Content Access Period
The period of time you’ll have to access the content depends largely on which options you choose. The Self-Paced plan provides full, unlimited access to all of the videos, questions, practice exams and resources for 4 months. This includes your three hours of one-on-one tutoring if you choose the Self-Paced PLUS plan.
If you choose the Live Online plan, your access will be largely scheduled with 36 hours of live classes offered online in real time. During the period of study, you’ll have unlimited access to the courses, 120 hours of pre-recorded videos, questions, practice exams and other services, including three hours of one-on-one tutoring when you select the Live Online PLUS plan.
If you choose one of the tutoring options, your access will be during your scheduled tutoring period.
Kaplan OAT Higher Score Guarantee
Kaplan is so confident that their resources will help you that they offer a higher-score guarantee. In the unlikely event that you don’t get a higher score on your official OAT than on your previously established baseline, you can either continue your prep for 12 more weeks at no additional cost or get your money back. As an added bonus, if you do score higher than your baseline but just aren’t happy and want more of a score increase, Kaplan will allow you an additional 12 weeks of access to their resources, free of charge. This is a generous guarantee and our team is pleased to see this promise.
Verdict: Kaplan OAT Prep Course Review
Overall, I could not have been more impressed with the Kaplan curriculum and study materials. They offer a complete, comprehensive and thorough suite of options to help you improve your score on the OAT.
Even though I did find some of the videos a little dry, their lack of entertainment value shouldn’t take away from the comprehensiveness of their content. The limited access period to Kaplan’s resources might be considered a downside for some who may want a little more time, but the sheer breadth of the instruction available is unparalleled. In the end, our experts found Kaplan’s OAT prep offerings to be rock solid in terms of preparing you for success on the exam.
How much do the Kaplan OAT prep courses cost?
Depending on which course option and level of instruction you desire, your OAT prep course will cost somewhere between about $900 and $1,600.
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 12 more weeks of access to their online resources for free.
Is the Kaplan OAT prep course worth it?
In our team’s opinion, yes. Kaplan is recognized as a leader in the test prep industry, and preparing you for the OAT is no exception. We see their moderately priced packages as a solid approach in preparing you for success on your exam.