Kaplan GMAT Review 2020 – Best Discounts

If you’re studying for the GMAT to get into the graduate business program you want, you will want a good prep course to help you score the maximum amount of points possible. The higher your score the better chance you have of being accepted into the program of your choice and potentially for receiving scholarship benefits. When it comes to GMAT prep courses, Kaplan offers a solid choice. But is it the best fit for your needs?

It’s natural to want to be certain that you are spending your GMAT test prep budget on a reliable brand. Many students have found that most reliable brand is Kaplan, and their GMAT test prep packages are among the most popular and highly regarded in the test prep industry.

What is Kaplan GMAT?

The Kaplan GMAT test prep courses are not the cheapest in the industry, but then again you do get a lot of value for your money.

The Kaplan brand has been around for more than 80 years, and its continuing popularity with more than 2 million students a year attests to its undeniable effectiveness.

Its GMAT prep courses offer a comprehensive set of tools, including a computer-adaptive set of practice questions, video lessons, live online instruction, and even a simulation of the actual test day.

You get the benefit of carefully chosen online instructors, and experienced tutors as well.

PROs

Here are some advantages you get with the Kaplan GMAT prep courses:

Several Different GMAT Test Course Options

Kaplan, like many of the other test prep brands, offers a self-paced plan with practice tests, an adaptive algorithm with lots of practice questions, and video lessons.

Each package has its own sets of features, adding more features as the prices go higher. You can go with the basic online courses, but you may want to invest in more hours of live instruction. You even have the option for 1-on-1 tutoring hours to go with the Live Online courses.

This lets you match the particular GMAT test prep course with your preferred study methods and your budget.

Comprehensive Plans

Check out exactly what you get with the various Kaplan GMAT courses:

Self-Paced

  • 6-month access
  • 14 hours of recorded online instruction
  • 30 hours of the GMAT Channel archived videos
  • 9-full-length practice tests
  • Adaptive Qbank with 2,300 questions for the tests
  • More than 5,000 total practice questions
  • A total of at least 140 hours of online practice and instruction
  • 2 prep books, along with an MBA admissions guide
  • Official Test Day Experience

Self-Paced Plus

You get everything listed in the Self-Paced course, plus the following:

  • Another 30 hours of optional live instruction on the GMAT Channel
  • A self-paced online course focused on the GMAT Math Foundations

Live Online

You get all the features and resources available in the basic Self-Paced course.

Then you also get the following to provide more interaction:

  • Another 30 hours of optional live instruction on the GMAT Channel
  • 18 hours of live online instruction

Live Online Plus

You get everything that goes with the Live Online package, along with the following:

  • 3 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring (which normally costs $450 as a separate package)
  • A self-paced online course focused on the GMAT Math Foundations

Tutoring

Aside from the tutoring hours (ranging from 10 to 40 hours), you also get the complete Live Online course.

With Tutoring, you get someone experienced who knows how to customize your training to match your personality and strengths and weaknesses. You can also rely on an experienced tutor who’s gone through that same GMAT exam and knows exactly what you need to do in order to perform your best.

Lots of Practice Questions

Many of the GMAT prep courses offered by other brands offer only a little more than 2,000 questions. Some offer even fewer questions.

Kaplan offers as many as 5,000 practice questions, and probably somewhat more than that. Each question has a detailed text and video explanation explaining how to get to the right answer, so you can learn from your mistakes.

Qbank

While taking the GMAT, you face a computer-adaptive test. That means if you answer the first question correctly, the next question is a bit more difficult. Get the answer wrong, and the next question is somewhat easier. Your GMAT score depends on the number of right questions, plus the difficulty of the questions you got right.

With Kaplan, you get the Qbank algorithm that mimics this feature in the GMAT. You have more than 2,300 questions working with this algorithm, and you can even access these practice question right on your mobile device.

Plenty of Practice Tests

Some brands have test prep courses with just 2 or maybe 3 full-length practice tests.

With Kaplan, you have 9 of them. That means you’re able to check your progress more frequently. You also have more practice, and practice makes perfect.

After so many practice tests, the real thing should seem very familiar, helping you relax and be confident when it counts.

A Test Day Simulation

This is the unique Kaplan feature that no other GMAT test prep brands offer. You get a practice day that simulates just about everything that will take place on the real GMAT test day. You even have to go to an actual GMAT test facility. This is a great time to see how far the drive is, where to find parking, etc. so you aren’t late on the big day!

You’ll feel the nerves that tend to go with the real test, and you can become familiar with the feeling. On the actual test day, the whole thing should be more familiar you won’t feel as anxious.

Books Included

Some people are old-fashioned enough to be comforted with actual books, with actual paper. Using books can be reassuring, as it feels more real.

With Kaplan you do get a proper set of 2 books to use. These books can help you with your GMAT strategy, and you even get a guide on dealing with MBA admissions.

Supplementary Options

Instead of going with the basic course, you may want only specific features for a lower price. This is a great option if you’ve opted for another brand for your GMAT test prep, but you want supplementary training.

Adaptive Qbank

You get this adaptive algorithm with at least 2,300 questions for just $99. You can even access this feature through your smartphone.

Practice Pack

This will cost $149 for 90 days of access, with the Qbank plus 4 full-length practice tests.

Add $50, (for a total of $199), and you get 180 days of access, with the Qbank and 8 full-length practice tests.

Study Pack

You get 8 practice tests, the Adaptive Qbank with 2,300 practice questions, 14 hours of on-demand teacher-led video instruction, and 2 GMAT prep books.

This costs $299 for 90 days of access, and $399 for 180 days.

Math Foundations

If you are feeling rusty, it’ll cost you $299 for a refresher course on the basic math skills you’ll need for the GMAT.

Official Test Day Experience

If you’ve done your GMAT test prep with another brand, then you can get the Kaplan Official Test Day Experience for $150. This is the feature which no other brand offers (so far).

Here you get to go to an actual testing facility, and you can get a more realistic sense of what’s in store for you when you take the actual GMAT test. You won’t be surprised at the real thing, once you’re done with this simulation.

CONs

Are the Kaplan GMAT test prep options perfect? Not quite, unfortunately. Here are some of the reasons this prep course isn’t for everyone.

Expensive

The costs of Kaplan GMAT test prep courses are quite high, especially when compared with similar packages from other GMAT test prep brands. Not everyone will be willing to (or will be able to) pay the higher prices.

The cheapest comprehensive self-paced package costs $599. The PLUS option for this will add another $200 to the cost, bringing it to $799.

The Live Online Option costs a total of $1,249. With its PLUS option, you pay $1,649. These are prices that aren’t quite easy to cover for students who are having to pay their own way through school.

The costs for tutoring (often a huge advantage to test takers) are also quite high:

  • $2,499 for 10 hours
  • $3,399 for 20 hours
  • $4,199 for 30 hours
  • $4,999 for 40 hours

Not very many can afford to pay $5,000 to just get ready for the GMAT before they even start paying for the tuition for their degree.

The good news is that Kaplan seems aware of their high prices, so they’re offering monthly payments at zero interest.

Here’s a quick look at what these test course options cost per month:

Kaplan GMAT Prep Course Total Cost Monthly Cost
Self-Paced $599 $50 per month
Self-Paced PLUS $799 $67 per month
Live Online $1,249 $105 per month
Live Online PLUS $1,649 $138 per month
Tutoring 10 Hours $2,499 $209 per month
Tutoring 20 Hours $3,399 $284 per month
Tutoring 30 Hours $4,199 $350 per month
Tutoring 40 Hours $4,999 $417 per month

 

At least on a monthly basis, it doesn’t seem all that bad. The basic self-paced course may be more expensive than other similar courses offered by other brands, but you won’t feel it when paying $50-$67 a month. Face it, you probably spend more money on coffee!

Besides, it is good to keep in mind that you should be able to cover these expenses once you get the higher company positions that an MBA degree makes possible.

No Dedicated Mobile App

It’s true that you can use your smartphone or tablet for the Qbank feature. But that’s it.

The other features of the Kaplan GMAT test prep courses aren’t optimized for the smaller screens on mobile devices. You simply have to use a desktop PC (or at least a large laptop) to make full use of the Kaplan GMAT course features.

That’s inconvenient for some people these days. Quite a lot of students are used to using their smartphones for everything, and they can’t with the Kaplan GMAT test prep courses.

Only 6 Months of Access

There are brands that offer longer access periods for less money. You may even find a GMAT test prep course with a “pause” button, so you can study for 3 months, take a break for a few months, and then resume for the rest of the 3 months remaining. With Kaplan, you don’t have that option.

FAQs

Does the Official Test Day Experience really help?

Many students find it useful, because you won’t take the GMAT in the comfort of your own bedroom or living room where you are probably taking most of the practice tests. Using an actual GMAT test facility gives you a more accurate idea of what you’ll experience on the actual GMAT testing day.

What’s so special about the Qbank?

It’s an adaptive algorithm that mimics the real GMAT test. When you take the GMAT, you also get a computer-adaptive test that increases the relative difficulty of the next question when you get an answer right.

Which GMAT test prep option is best?

This will depend on your needs. You can call Kaplan and get a free consultation, with freely given answers to all your questions. This consultation should give you a clearer idea of which option to go with.

Who Should Buy It?

Here are some statements that many Kaplan GMAT students can say. If these statements apply to you, then you may be a prime candidate to become a Kaplan GMAT student.

I can afford it.

Not all students can say this, since the Kaplan course seems designed for only the well-off students. The cheapest self-paced option costs roughly $600. You may find similar online options for less than half the Kaplan price, though they may not have the same level of quality.

I have a personal computer.

A desktop or personal laptop is the best computer platform to use to take full advantage of all the Kaplan GMAT prep course features. With just a tablet or smartphone, you won’t be able to fully enjoy the advantages. The smaller screen simply can’t access all that you need.

I have lots of self-discipline.

You have to motivate yourself to actually do the work. This isn’t for those who need someone to encourage them or to browbeat them to study.

You must have the strong will to follow the schedule and do the work. You should be able to take advantage of all those practice questions and practice tests.

I want something that’s effective.

No one disputes the effectiveness of the Kaplan GMAT test course options. It really does work for most people, especially if you seriously apply yourself.

Conclusion

It’s true that the Kaplan options are expensive. Even the cheapest self-paced option isn’t exactly cheap, compared to the other GMAT test prep courses out there. But then again, most of the other GMAT test prep courses aren’t as comprehensive as the Kaplan options.

Where else can you get an adaptive algorithm, 5,000 practice questions, and plenty of recorded and live online instruction?

No other brand also offers the Official Test Day Experience, which should familiarize you with the whole GMAT experience.

All in all, with the Kaplan GMAT test prep courses you’re getting value for your money, even with the basic self-paced course. You may have to save up for it, but you can be confident that you are facing the GMAT with the best preparation possible.

 

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