Getting ready to take on the GRE can be a scary thing if you don’t have the right preparation. Two of the top names in test prep, Kaplan and Manhattan Prep, both offer GRE courses and they offer unique resources to students.
If you’re looking for some more detailed information, be sure to check my full review of Kaplan and the full review of Manhattan Prep. But, for now, let’s dive right in and compare Kaplan versus Manhattan Prep GRE courses.
Manhatann Prep vs Kaplan GRE
Below we’ll compare these top two GRE prep courses cost, expiration, books, practice questions, flashcards, course formats, video lectures, retake options, and a comparison table.
For the initial price comparison, I’ll look at prices for In-Person/Online, and Self-Paced options.
The Manhattan Prep GRE Complete Course starts at $1199, or about $106/month. In terms of Live Online test prep, Kaplan runs much cheaper at $999. There are other options to keep in mind, however, depending on how comprehensive you want your prep to be and what features are most important.
Kaplan offers a $699 Self-Paced course, which allows you to set your own schedule while working through a curriculum of professionally-curated online lessons. Manhattan Prep’s other packages include a GRE Just Math for $699 (online or in-person), or Self-Paced options called Interact for GRE, which can be purchased in one-month ($249) or 6-month ($399) packages.
Kaplan is more expensive for Self-Paced, just as Manhattan Prep charges more for its Live courses, but the amount of content that comes with the Kaplan course makes it a slightly better deal.
As I mentioned above, Kaplan offers 6 months of access to their online prep materials, and Manhattan Prep offers students a similar option. Manhattan goes further in allowing students a trial period, to see if their software is a good fit, as well as offering a one-month package.
This one-month package costs $249, though, and does not offer much in the way of a bargain. Also, like in the first section, I think that the extra features like Kaplan’s customizable Quiz bank and mobile app give it a slightly better usage rate.
When it comes to test prep, different platforms speak to different students. I for one find it much easier to learn from physical resources; if this sounds like your style, then this section is for you.
Kaplan offers two primary textbook options, both of which can be explored on their site and bought through Amazon. GRE Prep ($16) and GRE Prep Plus ($28) offer test-taking strategies, a physical and an online practice test, and access to Kaplan faculty for Q&A on their Facebook page. The Plus option adds an extra online test, the useful QuizBank tool (see Practice comparison below), and a mobile friendly platform.
Manhattan Prep offers physical resources in the form of flash card packages to help study vocabulary (both advanced and basic) or math for $18.95 each. There is also a set of 8 study books covering all aspects of the test ($150), and the 5lb Book of GRE Practice Problems ($24.99), that has 2,000 practice questions and explanations.
Manhattan Prep’s set of 8 strategy guides can almost be a prep course unto themselves, and so I give them the edge in this category for both versatility and comprehensiveness.
Winner: Manhattan Prep
Practice Questions are the heart of GRE Prep. Kaplan puts their best foot forward in this category, offering students two individual practice options: QuizBank ($69 value including 2500+ GRE questions and quizzes you can customize by difficulty and subject-matter) and Practice Pack ($149 value including QuizBank, practice tests, and mobile flashcards). But to take it one step further, there is the Kaplan-exclusive Official Test Day Experience ($150), which allows you to take a live practice test and simulate all aspects of GRE test day.
While Manhattan Prep does not offer separate practice packages, they boast an incredible 100,000+ practice problems in their Interact courses. I’ll have to say that again because it’s truly an astonishing number: 100,000+ practice questions.
Outside of the questions themselves, both Manhattan Prep and Kaplan give students many more options for repetition and learning. Here’s a breakdown:
Kaplan materials: 8 recorded instructional video sessions, 5,000+ practice questions, Quiz Bank (which creates custom quizzes based on difficulty and subject), 7 full-length practice tests, 180 hours of online instruction and practice, Email-based support, GRE textbooks: GRE Premier: Course Book Edition, GRE Math Workbook, GRE Verbal Workbook, and GRE Pocket Reference (Kindle option available), and a flashcard app.
Manhattan Prep materials: 77 interactive video lessons, 6 full-length and adaptive practice tests, 100,000+ practice questions, detailed video explanations, and physical flash card packages
Winner: Manhattan Prep
Studying on-the-go can be crucial for students working a busy schedule apart from test prep.
Manhattan Prep provides students with options to purchase separate packs of flash cards that are categorized by subject area. There are cards for math, as well as vocabulary cards of two difficulty levels: essential and advanced. The packs are priced at $18.95 each and no course enrollment is required for purchase.
With the Kaplan GRE Review, your online materials come complete with free access to their mobile app, including a sleek interface designed for flashcards. Kaplan’s flashcard library (also 500 cards) features common GRE vocabulary, context clues and synonyms. It also allows you to customize your card stack and track your performance. Also, even though it technically falls under the Practice Question category, the Kaplan Qbank actually serves many of the same functions as flashcards, by providing students with customizable, fast-paced methods of study.
Both test-prep companies offer a plethora of package and format options. Choosing the right one for you is important—but it can be challenging to sift through all of the courses on offer. Here is a quick breakdown of the options for each:
- Interact for GRE 6-month Premium ($399): 77 video lessons; 6 adaptive computer tests, detailed explanations, 100,000+ practice problems, live support
- Just Math ($699): 6 computer adaptive practice tests, 2,300 practice math problems,
- GRE Complete Course ($1199): 8 sessions of classroom instruction (in-person or online), online questions banks, the 5 lb book of practice problems, ETS strategy guide, 6 full-length practice tests, on-demand class recordings for viewing anyitme
- Self-Paced Online ($699): 18 hours video instruction; The Official Test Day Experience; 7 full-adaptive computer tests; 180+ hours of instruction; QuizBank; 2 prep books. Online Plus Option adds 35 hours of live instruction for extra $200
- Live Online ($999): All Self-Paced Plus options, plus extra 3 hours of online instruction. Plus options adds 3 hours 1-on-1 coaching for extra $300
- Private Tutoring ($2199, $3299, $4399): Access to complete In-person or Live Online Course, plus a unique study plan with a personal GRE coach; price options are for 15, 25- or 35-hour plans
Both companies give students a range of course options, whether that be Manhattan Prep’s focused Just Math program or Kaplan’s Plus options—which add a great deal of value to each course. For example, Live Online Plus gives a 3-hour taste of Kaplan’s private tutoring. The more comprehensive of the two, however, is Kaplan, and there are more types of student who can find a home with one of their options.
When it comes to the quality and content of their respective recorded lectures, Kaplan really blows Manhattan Prep away. Both feature instructors with extensive training in GRE strategies and teaching and combine one-on-one style lectures with mock classroom demonstrations and exercises.
In terms of general feel, however, the Kaplan lessons are more comfortable and appealed to me more than those of Manhattan Prep. This category comes down to personal preference, however, and since both offer highly-credentialed teachers and similar formats, I call a tie.
Let’s face it. Sometimes test day throws us curveballs, and sometimes we can hit stumbling blocks even during the course of our preparation. When this happens, you want your prep course to have your back. Unfortunately, only Kaplan offers student anything in the way of guarantees.
Kaplan lets students quality for a full refund if their score doesn’t improve after that have completed a course in its entirety. On the other hand, if you are unhappy with the score or course for any reason, you can retake your same course for no additional charge. But: if you choose the repeat option, this will make you ineligible for any refunds down the road. See the Kaplan website for specifics.
Manhattan Prep offers no guarantees, either on score or satisfaction, so, unfortunately, this category is a no-brainer.
Before discussing the overall winner, let’s recap all of the differences between Kaplan and Manhattan Prep’s GRE courses.
Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE Comparison Table
|Expiration||6 months||6 months|
|Physical Books||Set of 8 strategy guides, 5 lb Book of Problems, Flash Card Packs||2 Textbooks|
|Practice Questions||100,000+||QuizBank, Official Test-Day Experience|
|Course Formats||Self-Paced, Live Online, In-Person, Math Only||Self-Paced, Live Online, In-Person and Tutoring|
|Refund/Retake||None||Free Course Retake, Full Refund available|
Conclusion on Manhattan Prep vs Kaplan GRE
Kaplan edges out the competition
So why does Kaplan take the cake in this showdown?
Overall, I found that Kaplan provided students with more comprehensive course options across all of their formats. Even in situations where it looks like they might easily have tied, such as expiration and price, Kaplan’s quality and unique features helped it edge out Manhattan Prep.
With that said, though, Manhattan Prep really shone with its arsenal of physical resources and practice problems. If you are someone who is familiar with the GRE and really benefits from drills, drills, drills, you may actually save some money by going for one of Manhattan’s packages and banging out the practice problems.
And remember: every student works differently, so take your own learning style into consideration when deciding whether to follow my advice.
More To Consider
Everything I do here is meant to help you prepare for YOUR test in YOUR way. Be sure to check out my full head-to-head comparison of the 7 leading GRE prep courses. While you’re at it, maybe pay a visit to my current top-ranked option: Magoosh. Now that you’re even more informed, it’s time to choose the right program for you and get ready to CRUSH the GRE!
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.