Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Prep Course 2021: Which One Is the Best?

Runner Up

  • Authentic practice tests
  • 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems
VS

Winner

Kaplan
  • Qbank
  • Official Test Day Experience

Getting a high score on the GRE requires an effective study plan. To get maximum results, millions of students have taken GRE prep courses that made their prep more organized and effective. 

Today, we’ll compare two of the best GRE prep courses online: Manhattan Prep and Kaplan.

Which one is better overall? What makes each prep course unique? In this comparison review, we’ll answer all of your questions about these two courses and determine which one best fit your study style, goals, and budget.

Ready? Let’s start.

Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Prep: The Basics

Manhattan Prep is one of the most preferred GRE prep courses online. It offers a flexible range of options: self-paced courses, in-person classes, tutoring services, and even special prep courses just for the Quant section. 

Manhattan Prep’s instructors have 99th percentile scores themselves, so it’s not a surprise they are considered as one of the best course providers out there.

Kaplan, on the other hand, is a household name when it comes to standardized test preparations. Just like Manhattan Prep, it has live courses, self-paced courses, and tutoring services. It even provides a test-day experience, in which you get to take a full-length GRE in a setup similar to the actual test day.

To give you a solid grasp of what you’re going to get from each of the courses, here’s a table comparing the two:

 

Manhattan Prep

Kaplan

Live instruction (online and in-person)

Yes

Yes

Self-paced

Yes

Yes

Tutoring services

Yes

Yes

Practice questions

100,000+

5000+

Practice tests

6

7

Subscription length

6 months

6 months

Video Lessons

Yes

Yes

Score improvement guarantee

None

Yes

Student support options

Email, forum

Email

Free trial

Yes

Yes

Each student has their own style in preparing for a major exam. That’s why in this comparison review, we’ll take a closer look at both courses’ features and determine which one is better based on the following aspects:

  • Curriculum and Effectiveness
  • Pricing
  • Ease of use
  • Student Reviews

Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Prep: Curriculum and Effectiveness

Live course

Whether you choose Kaplan’s Live Online or Live Online Plus Package, you’ll get 21 hours of live instruction and 40+ hours of videos in the GRE channel. The number of instruction hours is slightly less than Manhattan Prep’s Complete course, which provides 24 hours of live instruction over 8 sessions. 

If you get Kaplan’s Live Online Plus, however, you also get 3 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring, which fills Manhattan Prep’s gap when it comes to live instruction. 

Manhattan Prep’s Complete package and Kaplan’s Live Online Plus’ prices are close. If you’re looking for the better live course quality, however, I recommend Manhattan Prep. Its class size is small, and I just find the instructors a little bit better. 

Winner: Manhattan Prep

Self-paced course

In terms of self-paced courses, Manhattan prep and Kaplan’s styles are not very different from each other. Their videos are both adaptive and easy to understand. Both self-paced courses are accessible for 6 months, so it’s a tie in terms of the duration of access. 

What gives Manhattan Prep the edge for the self-paced course is the number of practice questions. Its self-paced course provides 100,000+ practice questions, which is enormous for a prep course and way more than Kaplan’s 5000+. Kaplan, on the other hand, provides better quality video instructions, despite offering fewer practice questions. 

Winner: Manhattan Prep

Practice Tests

Manhattan Prep provides 6 practice tests, while Kaplan provides 7. What gives Kaplan the edge when it comes to practice tests is the Official Test Day Experience. This feature allows a student to take a full-length GRE with test-day conditions. 

Not many GRE prep courses provide the Official Test Day Experience, so it’s definitely a great feature from Kaplan. Taking a practice test with the same time limits and venue as the actual exam will give you a good amount of confidence on the actual GRE. 

Providing more practice tests and giving an official test day experience, Kaplan gets the edge on practice tests.

Winner: Kaplan

Books

Manhattan Prep provides books in the GRE for MBA, Complete, and Just Math packages. You’ll get strategy books for both the Verbal and Quant sections and the famous 5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems (1).

Manhattan 5lb. Book

Source: Manhattan Prep

Kaplan, on the other hand, provides outstanding hardcopy GRE prep books, mainly on their Plus packages. The books provided are GRE Math Foundations and GRE Advanced Math, which will cost you $600 if you buy them separately online without the course. These books are a huge upside and an upgrade for your GRE prep.

In terms of books, both Kaplan and Manhattan Prep are among GRE prep courses that provide great quality and content. That’s why for this category, I’ll make it a tie.

Winner: Tie

Score Guarantee

A score improvement guarantee is an important feature, mainly for students who are looking to boost their scores to get into their desired schools. Between the two courses, only Kaplan provides a higher score guarantee. 

Kaplan guarantees that you’ll improve your GRE score after taking the course. Otherwise, you can continue taking the course for free or you can get a refund (2). 

The higher score guarantee gives Kaplan a major boost in this comparison review since it’s important for students who are looking to get into the best graduate schools in the country.

Winner: Kaplan

Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Prep: Pricing

Here are the pricing options for both courses:

Manhattan Prep GRE

Course

Price

GRE for MBA

$1599

Complete

$1399

Just Math

$799

GRE Interact (self-paced)

$299

Private Tutoring

30 hours

$225/hr

20 hours

$230/hr

10 hours

$245/hr

Kaplan GRE

Course

Price

Live Online Plus

$1299

Live Online

$999

Self-guided Plus

$699

Self-guided

$449

In-person

Not available as of the moment

Private Tutoring (online)

10 hours

$2299

20 hours

$3199

30 hours

$3999

40 hours

$4699

In terms of live courses, Manhattan Prep’s prices are higher than Kaplan’s but the latter has a more expensive self-paced course. The courses’ differences in terms of pricing and what you’ll get out of each course are pretty slim. 

With that being said, Kaplan’s quality content, higher score guarantee, and official test day experience are very hard to defeat. That’s why in terms of value for money, I’ll give Kaplan the slight advantage. 

Winner: Kaplan

Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Prep: User Experience

To properly compare Manhattan Prep and Kaplan’s ease of use, I’ll show you some screenshots of the courses’ dashboards, video lessons, and practice tests.

Above is Manhattan Prep’s Interact Dashboard. It’s easy to follow and looks more interesting. As you can see, you can easily distinguish which level you are in. Plus, you can easily locate the topic you need to study.

Kaplan Dashboard

Now, this is Kaplan’s dashboard. It has a simpler design, and it’s also very easy to use. As you can see, the curriculum for the section you are studying is already listed. Plus, you get to see how many minutes it will take to finish a video lesson or practice test, making it easier for you to organize your study session.

Video Lessons

Manhattan Prep’s video lessons are different from other prep courses’. They’re made fun, which added some entertainment value to them. See the screenshots below.

Video Lesson Screenshot 1

Video Lesson Screenshot 2

The way lessons are presented in the two prep courses are different. Most of the lessons in Manhattan Prep are flashed on the screen and not written by the instructor, which can make sessions less engaging. I personally prefer having the instructor write the whole process on the board, rather than simply flashing the steps on the screen. 

I am not a fan of Manhattan Prep’s entertaining touch to their lessons. Yes, they can keep the lesson interesting and less boring, but there are times in which those scenes appeared to be more distracting rather than informative.

Kaplan Video Lesson

Here’s a glimpse of Kaplan’s video lessons. I like how Kaplan delivers its lessons. It will take you through the step-by-step process in getting the correct answer to a problem, and they’re straight-to-the-point. 

Unlike Manhattan Prep, Kaplan’s instructor uses a whiteboard with the problem displayed. I just find this style more effective. One thing they could have done, however, is to make the pen’s color a little darker. 

Winner: Kaplan

Practice Tests

As you can see, Manhattan Prep’s practice tests are very adaptive and easy to use. Its text is readable and neat. Plus, it provides an on-screen calculator for the Quant section. 

Above is a screenshot of Kaplan’s practice test. This one’s not different from Manhattan Prep. All the words and numbers on the test platform are easy to read. It also provides an on-screen calculator.

Winner: Tie

Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Prep: Student Reviews

Both prep courses receive great reviews from students. However, as I read other reviews on the prep courses, I could see that Kaplan received higher ratings. 

Manhattan Prep does have an edge on some categories like the number of practice questions, but Kaplan’s official test day experience and higher score guarantee have created a bigger impact on students’ preparation experiences. 

Winner: Kaplan

What makes each prep course unique?

  • For Manhattan Prep:
    • Authentic practice tests: Although it offers fewer practice tests than Princeton Review, Manhattan Prep has one of the best sets of practice tests in the GRE prep scene. Their practice tests are known for being authentic and a little more difficult than usual. This helped students gain more confidence when the actual test day arrives. 
    • 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems: This book by Manhattan Prep is one of the best prep books out there for GRE. It contains 1800+ practice problems on both Verbal and Quant. Despite having minimal irregularities, it’s a great book to use for strengthening your verbal and math skills on GRE topics.  
  • For Kaplan:
    • Qbank: The Qbank is a huge storage of practice questions for the GRE that you can segregate to the level of difficulty and topic. Plus, you can mark a question as saved and go back to it later on.
    • Official Test Day Experience: Kaplan gives their students a full-length practice GRE with realistic test-day conditions. You’ll be taking the practice test with the GRE timing, venue, and setup. This is a good way to boost your confidence before taking the actual GRE. 

Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Prep: Which one is the best?

Here is a summary of everything we covered:

Area

Winner

Live instruction hours

Manhattan Prep

Practice questions

Manhattan Prep

Practice tests

Kaplan

Books

Tie

Score guarantee

Kaplan

Pricing

Kaplan

Video lessons

Kaplan

Practice tests interface

Tie

Student reviews

Kaplan

After evaluating and comparing both prep courses in different areas, I choose Kaplan as the winner. Yes, Manhattan Prep does have an advantage in terms of class size and the number of practice questions, but Kaplan’s video lesson quality, score improvement guarantee, and test day experience feature all make it a better course.

This review doesn’t take anything away from Manhattan Prep’s effectiveness, however. If you’re looking for a Quant-only or a refresher course for the GRE, Manhattan Prep is not a very bad choice and will still do wonders for your prep. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Both courses offer free trials, but you’ll get more content in Manhattan Prep than Kaplan. Unlike Manhattan Prep’s trial where you really get to experience the inclusions of the course, Kaplan’s free trial content is pretty limited.

Only Kaplan offers a score guarantee. If you did not improve your GRE score after taking their prep course, you’ll be eligible for a refund of your tuition. Click here for Kaplan’s score guarantee policy.

References

  1. https://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/store/gre-strategy-guides/5-pound-book-gre-practice-problems
  2. https://www.kaptest.com/hsg