Wondering how to best prepare for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and if Kaplan’s GRE prep program is for you? Then this Kaplan GRE prep review will help.
I’m an online tutor with years of experience helping students prepare for standardized tests, and I’ve even prepared extensively for the GRE myself. And I’ve put Kaplan’s On Demand GRE prep course through the wringer to make sure it’s worth its salt.
The GRE has become a sort of rite of passage for aspiring grad students, more than 300,000 of whom took the test last year. Getting a good score on the GRE is a great way to set yourself apart when applying to increasingly competitive graduate programs, which have the serious potential to open the door to the career you’re after.
The exam is challenging, and students often study for hundreds of hours in preparation for it. With the right GRE prep course, you can study smarter, improve your odds of getting a high score, and make yourself the best candidate possible when applying to grad school. There are tons of GRE test prep courses out there, and Kaplan’s is one of the most popular. Though I’ll be focusing on its online On Demand GRE program, Kaplan offers a range of GRE prep courses, including in person classes and private tutoring. I’ll touch on all of its offerings throughout the article.
- Detailed study guide
- Score improvement or your money back
- 2,500+ practice questions
- 500 flashcards
- Official Test Day Experience
- Seven practice tests
- 40+ hours of recorded and live classes
- 180+ hours of studying and review
- Newest GRE prep books
- 1-on-1 in person or online tutoring available depending on the package
- Prepares you for test conditions
- Diverse learning resources
- Goal setting features
- Good progress tracking
- Cost, though good value
- Time investment, but that’s to be expected
Best for: those who are determined to set themselves apart in the grad school admissions process.
Cost: courses starting at $449. Check latest prices here.
Overall: Kaplan’s GRE prep courses will ensure that your study experience is both manageable and effective. Its expert-created material focuses on both the GRE curriculum as well as the strategies behind mastering the test. And if it can’t help you, get your money back.
Here’s what’s in this Kaplan GRE prep course review:
- About Kaplan
- How does Kaplan’s GRE prep course work?
- How I reviewed Kaplan’s GRE prep course
- Pros, cons, and who it’s for
- Cost and refund policy
- Key features
- Other GRE prep course options
About Kaplan GRE prep
Ready to conquer the GRE? Look no further than Kaplan, one of the most trusted names in tutoring. Its On Demand GRE prep course sports a comprehensive curriculum spread across more than 180 hours of online instruction and practice, 40+ hours of live and recorded lessons, and an Official Test Day Experience to get you for what exam day will feel like.
And if Kaplan’s seven practice tests, dozens of explainer videos, and thousands of practice questions can’t improve your score, you’re guaranteed your money back.
So why not give it a try?
How does Kaplan GRE prep work?
Kaplan’s On Demand GRE test prep course is flexible, empowering you to master the exam on your own terms. The program covers the three main sections that you’ll face on the GRE–quantitative, verbal, and analytical writing. Testing your knowledge along the way, it tailors study recommendations to your needs.
- Detailed study guide
- 2,500 practice questions
- Seven practice tests
- Official Test Day Experience
- 180 hours of learning and practice
- 40+ hours of live and recorded lessons with expert GRE instructors
- 500-word flashcard bank
How I reviewed Kaplan’s GRE prep course
I spent hours pouring through Kaplan’s On Demand GRE prep course, watching instructional videos, taking practice tests, answering questions, and following Kaplan’s study recommendations to familiarize myself with the course.
Something I love about Kaplan’s prep courses in general is that they tend to have a fantastic user interface. You’ll waste no time digging for specific content, practice questions, or study resources. They’re all laid out nicely on sidescreen or above-screen toolbars.
I also love the focus that Kaplan puts on progress tracking. Engaging visuals keep you updated on exactly how much work you’ve done and what you’ve still got to do, helping to keep you motivated as you study.
Pros of Kaplan GRE prep courses
Prepares you for actual test conditions
You might take a few practice exams to prepare for a standardized test. But those don’t really capture the essence of what it feels like to sit down in a testing center and take a proctored, timed exam. Well, Kaplan has a solution. Its unique Official Test Day Experience replicates the testing experience by allowing you to take an exam in an official testing center, surrounded by other people taking the real GRE. If it’s your first time taking the GRE, or if you’re a nervous test taker, this is a great opportunity to build your confidence and put your best foot forward come the real exam day.
Diverse learning resources
I really appreciate how adaptable and versatile Kaplan’s study resources are. The On Demand GRE test prep course provides a range of resources, including books, explainer videos, live and recorded classes, quizzes, and flashcards, all tailored to accommodate different learning styles. If you prefer a live or in-person learning experience, Kaplan’s Live Online GRE Course, In Person Course, or private tutoring might help.
Good goal setting, progress tracking features
In my experience, setting realistic daily objectives, adhering to a structured study timetable, and accurately keeping track of how much you’re actually studying can take up lots of time and energy. But Kaplan does all of that for you. It provides a comprehensive, 12-week study calendar, telling you exactly what to study and how many hours you should be studying each week leading up to the test. And its progress tracker lets you know how much you’ve completed and how much work remains.
When you’re spending dozens of hours per week studying, as you likely will for the GRE, having a clear overview of your achievements is important for maintaining motivation.
Cons of Kaplan GRE prep courses
Cost (but good value)
Priced at $449, the On Demand course is Kaplan’s cheapest GRE prep program.That price is comparable to similar services, like Princeton Review’s GRE prep program. While this may seem like a sizable investment, it pales in comparison to the financial and personal rewards that come with advancing your professional goals. And with Kaplan's money-back guarantee, there's really nothing to lose.
Requires time investment
Kaplan recommends studying at least 120 hours ahead of the GRE. But if you’re serious about getting a top score on the exam, you’ll be studying that much, if not more, regardless of the prep program you ultimately go with.
Who Kaplan’s GRE prep is for
Kaplan’s GRE prep course is for you if you’re:
- Determined to get a top score on the exam
- Driven to get into your dream grad program
- Keen to master the test’s material
- Looking to practice under real testing conditions
If you've got the money and a strong determination to stand out among the crowd of 300,000+ GRE test-takers, then Kaplan is the way to go. It’s a particularly great option if you value a flexible yet comprehensive prep experience that allows you to study on your own terms.
How much does Kaplan GRE prep cost?
Kaplan offers a number of GRE prep courses that cater to different budgets and learning styles.
|What I reviewed in this article
|On Demand Plus
|Same offerings as On Demand plus access to Kaplan’s GRE Math Foundations and GRE Advanced Math curricula. A good option if you’re nervous about the quantitative portion of the exam.
|On Demand Course plus 21 hours of live, online instruction led by a team of expert educators.
|Live Online Plus
|Live Online Course plus three hours of 1-on-1 tutoring and access to the GRE Math Foundations and GRE Advanced Math curricula.
|In Person Course
|Access to online materials offered in On Demand course plus 21 hours of in-person classroom learning.
|Kaplan Private Tutoring
|Live Online Course plus 10, 20, 30, or 40 hours of private, 1-on-1 tutoring.
Kaplan’s refund policy depends on the course that you go with. For all of their offerings, you get a full refund within three days of enrolling and a 75% refund after a week of use, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the course and decide if it’s for you. Kaplan’s GRE prep courses offer you a full refund if your score doesn’t improve relative to your baseline.
Features of Kaplan’s GRE prep
Kaplan’s GRE prep courses offer tons of great features. Some of my favorites are:
- Study guide + progress tracker
- Live and recorded video classes
- Official Test Day Experience
- Learning reinforcement tools
- Practice tests
- Score guarantee
Study guide + progress tracker
Before you can even begin studying, Kaplan walks you through a detailed 12-week study guide that will get you ready to master the GRE. Each week, the planner tells you exactly what to review, how to reinforce your learning, and how many hours you should be studying. Once you begin studying, a progress tracker shows you what you’ve done and what you still need to do. I love that feature because, when you’re in the thick of test prep, it can be difficult to maintain perspective and, with it, motivation.
Live and recorded video classes
In addition to the 180+ hours of self-study and review, Kaplan’s GRE prep gives you access to more than 40 hours of live and recorded lessons. Taught by expert GRE instructors, these classes will help you clear up any doubts you have about the curriculum or test-taking strategy. Covering everything GRE, the recorded lessons are available 24/7.
Official Test Day Experience
This is my favorite element of Kaplan’s GRE prep offering. The Official Test Day Experience gives you the unique opportunity to take practice taking the GRE in a real testing center under actual testing conditions. I love this concept. No matter how much you study, it’s impossible to prepare for the feeling of sitting in a silent room, surrounded by dozens of other people, silently taking a proctored test – maybe in a slightly uncomfortable chair, probably under fluorescent lights. This will help you prepare for the nuances of standardized test-taking – planning when to use the bathroom, knowing how many (and what) snacks to bring, etc.
Learning reinforcement tools
Kaplan’s got you covered with a number of learning reinforcement tools that will surely drive home the concepts you’ve learned. Customizable quizzes, 2,500+ practice questions, and 500 flashcards will help you solidify your knowledge and feel confident in your studying.
One thing I appreciate about Kaplan is its focus on both content and test-taking practice. In addition to the Official Test Day Experience, Kaplan’s GRE prep includes seven practice tests. They will help you track your learning and give you the chance to apply your knowledge to a real exam.
It doesn’t matter which Kaplan GRE program you choose – you’ll always be covered by their score improvement guarantee. If Kaplan can’t help you improve your score relative to your baseline, they promise you your money back. With such a solid pledge, what’s to lose?
Kaplan hasn’t forgotten about you more old-fashioned studiers, who prefer to read from a physical book instead of a computer screen. All of Kaplan’s GRE prep courses come with the most up-to-date GRE prep books to complement its online learning materials.
While Kaplan is one of the best GRE prep services out there, some others include:
Kaplan, Princeton Review, Magoosh, Varsity Tutors, and Prep Scholar all have similar offerings. Magoosh, Varsity Tutors, and Prep Scholar (when it’s offering steep discounts) are a bit cheaper. They start at $149, $149, and $398, respectively. Varsity Tutors offers lots of free resources, including practice tests, as well as private one-on-one tutoring, as does Manhattan Prep.
Conclusion: Is Kaplan’s GRE prep worth it?
Kaplan’s GRE prep course offers lots of study tools that cater to diverse learning styles. Its holistic curriculum, focus on practical learning, extensive materials, and record of success make it a fantastic option if you’re preparing for the GRE.
I was especially impressed by the Official Test Day Experience, which I would have loved to have had when I was preparing for standardized tests. That’s not to mention Kaplan’s array of flashcards, explainer videos, progress trackers, quizzes, and practice tests, all of which are geared towards helping you learn as efficiently as possible. And if you don’t improve your score, you get your money back. So why not try Kaplan out?
If you’re for real about getting a high GRE score and making yourself as competitive a candidate as possible, Kaplan is a worthwhile investment. Good luck and happy studying. Your dream grad program awaits!
Kaplan GRE FAQs
Kaplan’s GRE prep courses start at $449 and go up to $2,299. Check latest prices here.
Assuming you put in the work, yes. And if it doesn’t, you get your money back.
Yes. Kaplan offers a full refund after a three-day trial and a 75% refund after a week. And if you don’t improve your score, you’re guaranteed your money back
Max is a graduate of Tufts University, where he studied international relations. He currently works as an online tutor.