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:
Live instruction (online and in-person)
Score improvement guarantee
Student support options
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
- Ease of use
- Student Reviews
Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Prep: Curriculum and Effectiveness
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Prep: Pricing
Here are the pricing options for both courses:
Manhattan Prep GRE
GRE for MBA
GRE Interact (self-paced)
Live Online Plus
Not available as of the moment
Private Tutoring (online)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Live instruction hours
Practice tests interface
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.
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