Say test prep, and the first word people typically say is Kaplan. And, that should come as no surprise—not only have their testing centers mushroomed on many a city block, but Kaplan’s line of test prep books runs deep—if there is a test, Kaplan has a method. But is Kaplan GRE prep any good?
Many would simply assume that Kaplan’s preeminent status is because it is the best. But, is that true? Does Kaplan provide the best material? And, most importantly, does it lead to your best score?
In this GRE Kaplan review, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of Kaplan’s GRE offerings, what they cost, and when they’re useful to see if they’re right for you.
Kaplan GRE Prep: What’s Offered
Before anything else, it’s important to understand what exactly Kaplan offers! They have a range of products at different price points; each is accessible for 6 months, but can be extended for a fee during the 60 days before the end of your access. Here’s the breakdown!
|Product||Price||How Long You Have Access||Best for...|
|In-Person Course||$1199||6 Months (online access)||Students who want regular classes to keep them on-track.|
|Live Online Course||$999||6 Months||Students who want regular classes to keep them on-track but want the flexibility of remote learning.|
|Live Online Course Plus||$1299||6 Months||Students who need an extra bit of accountability or who want to give extra focus to specific areas.|
|On-Demand Course||$449||6 Months||Students with an unpredictable or irregular schedule.|
|On-Demand Course Plus||$699||6 Months||Self-motivated students who can use a little extra boost.|
|Tutoring + On-Demand Course||$2299+||6 Months||Students who prefer 1-on-1 guidance for long-term study.|
|QBank + Practice Test Bundle||$199||6 Months||Students who have already studied for the test (or have extra materials) and need extra practice.|
|Practice Test 4-Pack||$149||6 Months||Students who have already studied for the test (or have extra materials) and need extra practice.|
|QBank||$69||6 Months||Students who have already studied for the test (or have extra materials) and need extra practice.|
Kaplan Plus Courses
In the above table, you’ll see that all of the “classroom” products (products that include instruction, whether through videos or live online teaching) come in both basic and Plus versions. So what’s the difference? Is Kaplan GRE Plus worth it?
The main difference is that the Plus courses come with additional instruction. However, this instruction varies by product. For the Live Online Course Plus, you’ll get three hours of 1-on-1 tutoring with a Kaplan instructor. However, for the On Demand Course Plus, the extra instruction comes in the form of video lessons. Note that you can still get additional tutoring when using the On Demand course by choosing the GRE Prep Tutoring package, though!
So is a Plus course a good choice for you? It depends on your mastery of the materials. Taking a GRE diagnostic quiz or test can help you understand the gaps in your current knowledge. If there are concepts that are giving you real trouble, paying extra for tutoring may be worth it. Just remember that Kaplan’s not the only game in town–there are plenty other great GRE tutors out there, some of whom charge a whole lot less.
Kaplan’s GRE Practice Tests
If you’re a highly self-motivated studier and don’t need any additional instruction, you may be wondering if Kaplan’s four practice tests are worth the $149 price tag ($199 with access to their 2,500+ Question Bank). It honestly depends on how far you are in your studies–and which other options you’ve already exhausted.
First of all, keep in mind that there are many free, full-length GRE practice tests out there, if you know where to look. These include the two free tests from ETS (the test-maker) and Magoosh’s free sample tests, among others. Still, ideally you’d be taking several practice tests a month–so are these enough? In most cases, likely not.
But price-wise, $149 is a lot just for practice tests. ETS sells three official practice tests for around the same price, $39.95 each, and those come from the test-maker itself!
The addition of the 2,500+ question bank may make this more appealing–but it’s still pricey at $199. In comparison, you can get six months’ worth of Magoosh access, with 6 practice tests and 1400+ questions, in addition to a comprehensive library of video lessons, for $199. Meanwhile, Magoosh guarantees a 5-point boost in your score (Kaplan only guarantees that you’ll score higher than your baseline).
Pros and Cons of Kaplan GRE Prep
With those 9 main Kaplan GRE prep products in mind, should you take the leap and click “purchase”? Here are a few things to weigh up before you do.
- Large resource library with 180+ hours of lessons
- 7 full-length computer-based tests
- 5,000+ practice problems
- Products at different price points
- “Plus” options give you access to a tutor.
- Analysis of your individual performance
- Tutoring packages can be expensive—averaging up to $200+ per hour.
- No mobile app for studying (there is a flashcard app, though)
- In person classes are not available in many areas at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Other companies offer similar resources for less money.
- The main Kaplan GRE prep book is all right, but other companies offer better materials.
As you can see, there are some real benefits to Kaplan GRE prep–and some real drawbacks. The quantity of materials is a real perk. If you want a one-stop shop for your GRE prep, from books to lessons to tutoring, Kaplan makes that easy for you. However, this convenience comes at a price. And other companies offer the same kinds of benefits for less money (sometimes significantly less!).
Also, this huge amount of materials will really only be useful if you have several months (or more) in which to study. If you’re prepping for the GRE in two weeks, for instance, you don’t want to pay for hours and hours of instruction that you won’t use. Take a look at Magoosh’s GRE study schedules to get a sense of the materials you can realistically cover in a give time period to see if you really need everything Kaplan’s offering.
Even if you do end up selecting Kaplan as your GRE provider, keep the above comment about the quality of the materials in mind. At the very least, take a look at the GRE Official Guide and use at least a handful of the official practice tests before test day to get a feel for what the official materials feel like, and how they differ (even if just a little bit) from Kaplan’s materials.
Should you use Kaplan GRE Prep?
Only you can weigh up the pros and cons of Kaplan GRE prep to know if it’s right for you. In general, however, the ideal Kaplan student is someone who:
- Has the financial resources to make a significant investment in test prep (after all, the GRE can already be an expensive test)
- Has at least several months to prep for the GRE and take advantage of the numerous resources
- Has ruled out other, cheaper options
Overall, Kaplan offers a solid product—but there are lots of other great choices out there, too (and a lot of them come much cheaper!). Though it may be a safe and easy option, Kaplan’s limitations mean that it isn’t the right choice for everyone.
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