Kaplan vs Princeton Review SAT Prep Course 2021: Who Is The Best?

Winner

  • High score guarantee
  • PSAT and ACT resources
VS

Runner Up

Kaplan Logo
  • Qbank feature
  • Great instructors

Are you preparing for your GRE? 

To get a desirable score on the GRE requires the right study plan and resources. Taking a prep course is one of the best ways to make your preparation for the GRE easier, more efficient, and more effective. 

Today, we will compare two of the GRE prep courses most preferred by students: The Princeton Review and Manhattan Prep. Which course is better? Which one is more fit to your study style and goals? To help you choose between the two, we will take a closer look at both prep courses and compare them in different areas.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Princeton Review vs Manhattan Prep GRE: The Basics

Princeton Review is a household name when it comes to standardized test preparations. Their GRE prep course offers a wide range of options and packages. 

Whether you’re looking for a refresher course or a more extensive prep, you would find a package suitable for you with Princeton Review. 

The Quick Study, for instance, is an online course with a couple of practice tests and drills suitable for students who need a refresher before the GRE. Princeton Review also offers more extensive options like their live packages, in which you get to study with an instructor. 

Manhattan Prep, on the other hand, is also a flexible course offering several options. It offers self-paced courses, in-person classes, tutoring services, and even special prep courses just for the Quant section. 

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:

 

Princeton Review

Manhattan Prep

Live instruction (online and in-person)

Yes

Yes

Self-paced

Yes

Yes

Tutoring services

Yes

Yes

Practice questions

  

Practice tests

8

6

Subscription length

4 months

6 months

Video Lessons

Yes

Yes

Score improvement guarantee

You can retake the course for free if you’re unhappy with your score

None

Student support options

Email, phone

Email, forum

Free trial

Yes

Yes

The effectiveness of both GRE prep courses depends on your study style and goals. Let’s compare Princeton Review and Manhattan Prep’s live courses, self-paced course, and tutoring services and 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

Princeton Review vs Manhattan Prep GRE: Curriculum and Effectiveness

Live course

Princeton Review’s most intensive package is the GRE 162+ package, which covers both the Quant and verbal sections. In this package, you’ll get 45 total hours of live instruction (25 hours for Quant, 20 hours for Verbal). This is a lot more than Manhattan Prep’s GRE for MBA package, offering only a total of 30 hours of live instruction. 

Instructors from both Princeton Review and Manhattan prep are professional and from the top 1% of GRE takers themselves. Both these courses have exceptional experience when it comes to GRE prep. If you’re looking for a more thorough preparation with an instructor, Princeton Review is ideal for you, considering it has more live class hours. 

Winner: Princeton Review

Self-paced course

Princeton Review and Manhattan prep’s  self-paced packages are not very much different in terms of style. Both provide adaptive video lessons that have interactive technology. The major difference, however, is that in Princeton Review, you get 8 full-length practice tests, which is more than Manhattan Prep’s 6.

As for duration of access, Manhattan Prep’s 6 months is better than Princeton Review’s 4 months.

In terms of the self-paced course’ effectiveness, I give Manhattan Prep the slight edge. Its self-paced course provides 100,000+ practice questions, which is enormous for a prep course. Princeton Review, on the other hand, provides the better quality of video instruction, despite offering fewer practice questions. 

Winner: Manhattan Prep

Quant-only course

Both courses offer packages solely for the Quant section. Princeton Review’s GRE Quant 162+ provides 25 hours of live instruction and 28 hours of recorded lessons. You would also get 4,400+ practice questions. 

The inclusions of Princeton Review’s Quant-only course are almost twice the amount of instruction hours, practice questions, and video lesson hours included in the Manhattan Prep counterpart. However, its price is also almost twice Manhattan Prep’s Just Math course. 

It’s a bit difficult to choose a winner for this section, given that the two courses offer different amounts of content for very different pricing. With that said, I think Princeton Review’s number of practice questions and hours of live instruction are more worth purchasing. 

Winner: Princeton Review

Books

Princeton review’s materials and resources have become purely online. That means all the practice questions, tests, and drills are accessible online. They, however, provide Quant and Verbal manuals on some of their packages. 

Manhattan Prep, on the other hand, 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).

Winner: Manhattan Prep

Score Guarantee

If you’re looking to boost your GRE score, a score guarantee will surely be an advantage for you. 

Fortunately, Princeton Review has a policy for such. If you enroll in their Self-paced, GRE 162+, or Fundamentals package, you will get a higher score guarantee. Meaning, if you don’t improve your score on the GRE after taking their prep course, you will be eligible for a refund. Check the full details of the policy here (2). 

Unfortunately, Manhattan Prep GRE does not offer any score improvement or money back guarantee. 

Winner: Princeton Review

Princeton Review vs Manhattan Prep GRE: Pricing

It’s fair to say that the price ranges of The Princeton Review and Manhattan Prep are close to each other. However, both courses are not the cheapest ones, especially if you compare it with Magoosh, for instance. 

Here are the prices for both courses’ packages:

The Princeton Review GRE

Course

Price

GRE 162+

$2299

GRE Quant 162+ 

$1499

Fundamentals

$1199

Self-paced

$399

Private Tutoring

18 hours

$167/hr

10 hours

$180/hr

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

It’s clear to see that The Princeton Review’s prices are more expensive than Manhattan Prep. However, I still think that both course packages are worth purchasing. 

The Princeton Review has been at the top of the test prep scene for quite a while now. The quality of live and recorded instruction provided is just top-notch. Plus, the higher score guarantee makes the course worth it, despite being slightly more expensive. 

Winner: Princeton Review

The Princeton Review vs Manhattan Prep GRE: Ease of use

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

Here is a screenshot of Princeton Review’s self-paced dashboard. I’m not a fan of this prep course’ folder-themed dashboard. Manhattan Prep has a more interesting, calendar-like dashboard, and this design by Princeton Review just appears to be a little too bland. However, what I found impressive in Princeton Review is the Essentials-Lessons-Drills concept. 

Each chapter or module starts with videos that teach you the essential concepts you have to know before starting the main lesson. After the main lesson, you can then measure your understanding with the DrillSmart Technology (3).

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

Video Lessons

The Princeton Review’s video lessons are really good. In the screenshot above, you’d think that the instructor is writing backwards on a transparent board. What’s actually happening was the instructor was writing normally, but the video was flipped so the student can see the writings properly.

I like how The Princeton Review’s videos are constructed. The instructors are straight to the point and will run you through the step-by-step process of the solution.

On the other hand, Manhattan Prep’s video lessons are a little bit different in terms of style. They’re made comical, which added some entertainment value to them. See the screenshots below.

Unlike in the videos in The Princeton Review, most of the lessons in Manhattan Prep are flashed on the screen and not written by the instructor. I personally prefer having the instructor write the whole process on the board, rather than simply flashing the steps on the screen. Both courses run you through the steps completely, however. 

I am not a fan of Manhattan Prep’s comical 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. 

Winner: Princeton Review

Practice Tests

Above is a screenshot of Princeton Review’s practice test. It can be seen that the question and choices are easy to read. What’s good about this course’ practice tests on Quant is that you can use a calculator as you are answering. You can also choose if you want your test timed or not. 

Manhattan Prep’s practice tests aren’t very different from The Princeton Review’s. They basically have the same format. They just differ in design. 

Winner: Tie

Princeton Review vs Manhattan Prep GRE: Student Reviews

Thousands of students can attest to how effective Princeton Review or Manhattan Prep is in helping them reach their goals on the GRE. However, as I read other reviews on the prep courses, I could see that Princeton Review received higher ratings. 

Princeton Review’s high-quality instruction, whether online or live, and score improvement guarantee did wonders for students who took the exam. Manhattan Prep, on the other hand, also received good reviews from students. If you’re going to choose one, however, that was preferred by students the most, it’s definitely Princeton Review.

Winner: Princeton Review

What makes each prep course unique?

  • For Princeton Review:
  • DrillSmart Technology: This technology makes your prep experience more fit to your existing skills and knowledge. Through the DrillSmart Technology, the difficulty of the practice quizzes and drills you will encounter throughout the course will depend on the results of your diagnostic test. The level of difficulty also increases as you progress throughout the course.
  • Connects Q&A (app): Princeton Review developed a mobile app to help out students with questions at any time of the day. This app is mostly ideal for Math and Science topics. All you have to do is take a photo or a screenshot of the problem you’re having troubles with, and the app will provide the step-by-step solution to the problem.  
  • 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 come test day.
  • 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 sills on GRE topics.  

Princeton Review vs Manhattan Prep GRE: Which one is the best?

Here is a summary of everything with covered:

Area

Winner

Live course

Princeton Review

Self-paced

Manhattan Prep

Quant-only course

Princeton Review

Books

Manhattan Prep

Score guarantee

Princeton Review

Pricing

Princeton Review

Video lessons

Princeton Review

Practice tests

Tie

Student reviews

Princeton Review

After evaluating and comparing both prep courses in different areas, I choose Princeton Review as the winner. Despite being more expensive, Princeton Review provides quality instruction, online or in-person. Its online platform and videos are designed for more efficient studying.

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. Princeton Review has a 14-day free trial, while Manhattan Prep has a 7-day free trial.

Only Princeton Review 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 Princeton Review’s score guarantee policy.

References

  1. https://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/store/gre-strategy-guides/5-pound-book-gre-practice-problems/
  2. https://www.princetonreview.com/legal/guarantee-better-scores?ceid=gre-quant 
  3. https://origin-www.princetonreview.com/grad/gre-honors-course?ceid=tersh-nav-pt-course