Kaplan is one of the most recognized names in exam preparation. With 5,000+ practice questions, 9 computer-adaptive practice tests, and exclusive features like a mobile Quiz bank and live test-day simulation, Kaplan GMAT Prep makes it possible for you to craft a truly dynamic study experience.
But deciding on the right prep course depends on your budget as much as your study needs—and all of Kaplan’s features lead to some rather steep prices.
Here we will review the major pros and cons for all of Kaplan’s GMAT prep courses, show how they stack up to the other top GMAT prep courses and help you determine whether Kaplan or another course best suits your needs.
Please note Kaplan GMAT Prep is one of our affiliate brands, and as such we receive a small commission at no cost to you if you choose to purchase this prep course. Only use our links if you find this review helpful.
1. Kaplan Adaptive Quiz Bank (Qbank)
One of Kaplan’s most popular features is its Adaptive Quiz Bank (“Qbank”). With Qbank, you are able to create a personalized quiz from a pool of over 5,000 practice questions. Qbank is also adaptive, meaning that it responds proactively to your individual performance and needs.
Struggling with a particular style of quantitative question? Jump into your Qbank to see that it has been customized to address this specific area with targeted questions, guided feedback and tailored recommendations.
The Qbank is also available as an app on mobile devices, making it a useful tool not only for organization but also for studying on-the-go.
With an offering of over 5,000 practice questions, Kaplan is at the top of the list in this category. The only other GMAT preparation course option with access to 5,000+ questions is Varsity Tutors.
2. GMAT Channel
The GMAT Channel is another Kaplan exclusive feature that features a collection of online instructional videos delivered by their highly-trained GMAT teachers. Most instructor-led study plans include access to over 30 hours of live and recorded sessions, which are organized according to instructor, difficulty and topic. Tailor your GMAT Channel experience even further by selecting options that fit your specific learning style, strengths, and weaknesses.
This is one of Kaplan’s most intensive features and, as such, one of the reasons for Kaplan’s high prices. With the Official Test Day Experience (a Kaplan exclusive) students are able to take a full-length practice GMAT exam at an actual testing facility.
Whether it’s clocking the drive from home; getting used to the seating, hardware, or environment; or simply reminding yourself what it’s like to take a standardized test, the Test Day Experience can help you neutralize all of the test day variables. Sometimes the stress of a major test comes as much from the experience of test-taking as it does from the content being covered.
However, if your priority is subject matter—or if you don’t have time for a full day practice test—keep in mind that this feature factors into Kaplan’s higher course prices. Look at your availability and determine if this feature would benefit you.
4. Physical Textbooks
If you’re anything like me, you retain information most easily with a physical textbook in your hands. Most exam prep courses encourage students to choose between adaptive online learning and the benefits of a physical textbook. But with Kaplan GMAT Prep, you won’t have to choose one or the other. Included with all instructional packages (meaning all Live Online and Self-Paced options), are 2 Kaplan Prep Books, as well as an MBA admissions guidebook.
The textbooks are helpful, especially for certain learning styles, but limited. Because of that, they are most effective in conjunction with one of the online or live courses, rather than as standalone resources.
If physical textbooks aren’t your thing or you’re more of a digital learner, then this feature may not be valuable to you. For a fully digital experience with instructions and content available on-demand either online or via mobile app, you can check out Magoosh. Their app is truly top of the line for GMAT prep.
5. Self-Guided Options
Speaking of a quick refresher, any one of Kaplan’s Self-Guided options would be the perfect choice for you if you are just hoping to quickly knock the dust off of a certain section. Perhaps you’ve just finished (or are wrapping up) your undergraduate degree, and your time would be best spent on quick, targeted reminders rather than full-length exam instruction.
If this is your situation, consider one of Kaplan’s affordable and efficient Self-Guided options:
- $99 (3 months) or $149 (6 months); Build custom quizzes that adapt to you from 2,300+ practice questions
- $149 (3 months) or $199 (6 months); Access to all features of the Qbank; 4 full-length computer adaptive practice tests; 6-month plan adds another 4 full-length computer adaptive practice tests
- $299 (3 months) or $399 (6 months); 14 hrs of recorded instruction; “Knowledge checks” before and after every lesson; 8 full-length computer adaptive practice tests; Adaptive Qbank with 2,300+ questions; 2 Prep books and MBA admissions guide
GMAT Math Foundations:
- $299; Intensive online workshops and 400+ practice questions; geared specifically towards building a strong foundation for the GMAT’s unique genre of mathematic skills
6. Multiple Instructor-Led Packages
While it is nice to have options for studying on your own, all of the top GMAT review courses earn their reputations according to their instructional packages. With Kaplan test prep, you are offered three main categories of instructor-led review, with each of these broken down further into more specific options. Kaplan Instructors are selected after rigorous application and training regimens, and each instructor is proven to have scored in the 90th percentile on the GMAT test.
Here is a rundown of the package options. Each includes a PLUS option, which adds a few bonus features for a slightly higher admission fee.
Kaplan GMAT In Person:
- $1449; 18 hrs live instruction; 30+ hours of elective live instruction through The GMAT Channel; Official Test Day Experience; 9 full-length computer adaptive practice tests; Adaptive Qbank for GMAT with 5,000+ practice questions; 140+ hours of online instruction and practice; 2 prep books and MBA admissions guide.
- Plus ($1849) includes extra 3 hrs of 1-on-1 coaching and GMAT Math Foundations Self-Paced Program
Kaplan GMAT Live Online:
- $1249; 18hrs live online instruction; 30+ hours of elective live instruction through The GMAT Channel; Official Test Day Experience; 9 full-length computer adaptive practice tests; Adaptive Qbank for GMAT with 5,000+ practice questions; 140+ hours of online instruction and practice; 2 prep books and MBA admissions guide.
- Plus ($1649) includes extra 3 hrs of 1-on-1 coaching and GMAT Math Foundations Self-Paced Program
Kaplan GMAT Self-Paced:
- $799; 14 hrs of recorded instruction; 30 hrs of archived episodes of The GMAT Channel; Official Test Day Experience; 9 full-length computer adaptive practice tests; Adaptive Qbank for GMAT with 5,000+ practice questions; 140+ hours of online instruction and practice; 2 prep books and MBA admissions guide.
- Plus ($999) includes 30+ hours of elective live instruction on The GMAT Channel and GMAT Math Foundations Self-Paced Program
As you can see, Kaplan provides a wide range of options, ensuring that you can utilize their expert instructors in a way that makes the best use of your time and learning style.
7. Live Tutoring
To round out a review company that already offers a plethora of self-paced and live study options, Kaplan GMAT Prep also provides students with the opportunity to sign up for a live private tutor plan. Where Kaplan Private Tutoring really excels is in the ability for students to access all the benefits of a private tutor online. Private tutoring at some other companies is limited by regional access to a tutor, meaning that if you live in a remote area or outside of a major college region, you might not be able to take advantage of a private tutor. This type of universal access is really important, because—if it matches your learning style—Live Tutoring can be the most beneficial method for boosting your score.
However, if you just have a few questions or need a quick review on a specific topic, these tutoring options may not be the best fit. Some courses offer add-on tutoring that’s less extensive (and less expensive), like Varsity Tutors, which offers 3 hours of tutoring with their On-Demand Plus package.
Here is a quick breakdown of the pricing plans for Kaplan GMAT Live Tutoring:
15 Hours Kaplan GMAT Tutoring Online or In-Person:
- $2799; geared to help students who want to target a specific area of the exam; build a personalized study plan; gain access to one complete In Person or Live Online classroom course
25 Hours Kaplan GMAT Tutoring Online or In-Person:
- $3899; for students looking for either more intensive help or tutoring across all areas of the GMAT; build a personalized study plan; gain access to one complete In Person or Live Online classroom course
35 Hours Kaplan GMAT Tutoring Online or In-Person:
- $4999; Kaplan’s most exhaustive and intensive Prep Course available; perfect for anyone who needs a highly-competitive score or a large score increase; build a personalized study plan; gain access to one complete In Person or Live Online classroom course
8. Kaplan Higher Score Guarantee
The Kaplan Higher Score Guarantee comes standard on all of their instructional packages (excluding stand-alone purchases of the Qbank or Practice Pack). As with all guarantees it comes with a few conditions, most importantly: you have to complete the entirety of your chosen course, take the GMAT at the soonest available opportunity, and share your score with Kaplan within 3 months of your test. Failure to meet any one of Kaplan’s score guarantee criteria will deem you ineligible for a refund, so make sure to read all the terms carefully.
One of the most important features of the Kaplan GMAT Prep is the incredible amount of flexibility that it offers students in choosing the right course. Because of this, Kaplan is able to accommodate students who are looking for a quick-fix study guide as well as those who are looking to launch a no-holds-barred assault on the GMAT.
Whether your main focus is time, money, or access to a tutor, Kaplan’s multiple plans will allow you to tailor a study plan that fits nicely with your priorities. Just keep in mind that all of these plans have a price tag, and not all of their features overlap!
1. No Mobile App
Although Kaplan GMAT Prep does offer students the opportunity to access their Qbank on the mobile device, many of the other features are not very compatible with anything other than a desktop. While it makes sense that features such as the computer adaptive practice tests would lose some of their effectiveness in a mobile setting, it would be nice if Kaplan allowed students a fully-loaded mobile app like Magoosh, and other GMAT competitors do.
2. Expensive Options
Although it is great that Kaplan offers tutoring and live instruction plans with so much flexibility and accessibility, they still run on the more expensive side. Only the Self-Paced and Self-Guided options offer plans for under $1,000, and the cheapest Live Instruction begins at $1,249. And with the 15-hour Live Tutoring plan beginning at almost $3,000, the steepness of the price might ward off students who would otherwise truly benefit from this type of exam preparation.
For test takers looking for the best value, there are other less expensive options like Magoosh (starts at $249) or Target Test Prep (starts at $99/month). Check out how all the different GMAT online courses stack up against each other on features and price point on our comparison chart.
Kaplan GMAT Prep Course Commonly Asked Questions
1. How Much is Kaplan GMAT Prep?
Kaplan GMAT Prep can run on the more expensive side (the top-tier tutoring plan costs $4999), but it counters this by offering students packages of varying size, duration, price and intensity. As you can see, most plans hover around $1,000-$1,500, with low-content self-guided options running below $1000.
2. Does Kaplan GMAT Prep have a Mobile App?
Kaplan GMAT Prep does not have a full mobile app, although it does offer highly-accessible mobile version of the adaptive Qbank. While not quite the same as full access to lessons, this allows for quick studying on the go. If mobile accessibility is one of your top priorities, take a look at some of the other top GMAT courses with mobile apps.
3. How does the Higher Score Guarantee work for tutoring, Self-Paced, and Live Online packages?
Kaplan’s money-back guarantee is extremely flexible, allowing for students who are unhappy with their scores to take advantage of the guarantee no matter what type of instruction plan they chose. In some cases, students are offered the option to repeat their hours (for tutoring students) or course for FREE instead of receiving their money back.
4. I don’t have much time until my GMAT, can I still use Kaplan?
Kaplan is flexible in terms of which features you purchase and how you use the materials. They offer 4 months of online access to content, which is similar to many of their competitors. However, if you’re just looking for access to Kaplan GMAT practice tests and practice questions, then Kaplan can be a good option.
Access to the Qbank starts at just $99 for 3 months, and you can customize which kinds of questions they focus on.
If you’re in a real time crunch (say, less than 30 days before test day), you may want to review some of the other options and take advantage of the free trial offerings to find something that will help you get the most out of your time. Target Test Prep may be an option, as they offer month-to-month access.
Kaplan GMAT Prep provides students with a number of different course options, ranging from concentrated, lower content self-guided plans all the way to private tutoring. Included in these packages are a number of exclusive features that contribute differently to the success of your studying.
Some features, like the Qbank and The GMAT Channel are helpful additions that come standard and enhance the effectiveness of their Live Online and Self-Paced courses. But other features, such as the Test Day Experience and Kaplan textbooks, are not universally useful even though they still come standard—which means that if these tools don’t fit with your learning style (or availability), you could find yourself paying for much more than you use! Because of this, I recommend checking out our full breakdown of the top GMAT Prep Courses to see how Kaplan stacks up against the competition.
Overall, Kaplan provides a strong set of core options as well as some expensive unique features. If money isn’t an object and you enjoy having a myriad of innovative tools at your fingertips, then Kaplan may be the right choice for you. Best of luck!
Bryce Welker is an active speaker, blogger, and regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, and Business.com where he shares his knowledge to help others boost their careers. Bryce is the founder of more than 20 test prep websites that help students and professionals pass their certification exams.