Kaplan vs Manhattan: Which is the Best GRE Prep?

Wanting and planning for a graduate degree shows a lot of foresight on your part, as farther down the road of your career, a graduate degree can help you get the promotion or raise you want. But to get into a good graduate school (or even any graduate school), you will need to do well with the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). Graduate school admissions boards will check out your scores, as well as some other factors, to see if you deserve a slot in their graduate school.

To do well on the GRE, you need to prepare properly. While some people do better studying on their own, you may be more successful with the help of an online GRE prep course or private tutoring. If you have researched prep courses at all, you may have already encountered reports indicating the general success and effectiveness of both Kaplan and Manhattan.

Both are highly regarded test prep brands, and they’re known for high quality GRE prep courses. But which one is a better program? Or more specifically, which is best for you?

To find out the suitability of each GRE prep option, we’ve set up this comparison for you to check out. We’ve focused on the more important factors that most GRE test-takers need to take into account. You can check out detailed individual reviews for Kaplan and Manhattan as well. The quick summary is available in this chart with more details to follow.

 KaplanManhattan
Cost$499-$4,899$249-$6,750
Live OptionYesYes
Tutoring OptionYesYes
Access6-month1,2, or 6-month
Practice Questions5,000 and 7 practice tests100,000 and 6 practice tests
FlashcardsVocab cards includedVocab and Math cards available for extra cost
Video Lectures180+ hours of online instruction77 interactive video lessons
Books2 books included4 books included in premium package
Score Guarantee5 point increase guaranteeNo score guarantee
RetakesIf you aren't satisfied, free retake optionNo retake option

Cost

Both Kaplan and Manhattan are reputable brands for GRE preparation. With either of these options, you’re getting your money’s worth.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the budget to go for a 40-hour a week, 1-on-1 tutorial program backed by an online study plan. Cost will be a factor so let’s look at how affordable these plans are.

Here, we’ll show you the regular prices from Kaplan. However, keep in mind that Kaplan often (almost always) offer discounts for their prices. On the day we checked their website, the discount was 15% for all the online GRE courses.

With Manhattan, there was no discount when we checked. Still, the prices compare favorably even with the discounted Kaplan prices.

Kaplan Prices

  • $449 (self-paced)
  • $699 (self-paced PLUS)
  • $999 (Live Online- Lecture)
  • $1,199 (Live Online – Small Class)
  • $1,299 (Live Online PLUS- Lecture)
  • $1,499 (Live Online PLUS – Small Class)
  • $2,299 (Private Tutoring – 10 hours)
  • $3,199 (Private Tutoring – 20 hours)
  • $3,999 (Private Tutoring – 30 hours)
  • $4,899 (Private Tutoring – 40 hours)

Check for the current discount code and apply it to these prices whenever you are ready to begin your study in earnest. All of these online courses offer 6-month access.

Manhattan Prices

The prices are somewhat similar, when you compare the packages that also offer similar resources and access.

  • $249 (access for 1 month)
  • $349 (access for 2 months)
  • $399 (access for 6 months)
  • $510 (Private tutoring, 2 hours)
  • $699 (Just Math)
  • $1,199 (Live Online Summer Complete Course)
  • $1,399 (GRE for MBA Course)
  • $2,450 (Private tutoring for 10 hours, with all books and resources)
  • $4,600 (Private tutoring for 20 hours, with all books and resources)
  • $6,750 (Private tutoring for 30 hours, with all books and resources)

With the Kaplan options, you can go with the Live Online course for just $999. That’ll cost you $1,199 with Manhattan.

Go with Kaplan’s Online PLUS option, and you get 3 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring (among other things) for just an extra $300. That’s $100 an hour. With Manhattan, the cost of private tutoring is $255 an hour. A similar addendum will set you back $765, so with the Live Online course, that’s a total cost of $1,964.

Advantage: Kaplan

GRE Course Plans and Formats

What exactly do you get when you dole out this kind of money? The good news is that in both cases, you get a lot of great resources and support. Here are the details.

Kaplan

Self-Paced ($449) · 180+ hours of online instruction and practice

· 35 hrs of GRE Channel elective live instruction

· Official Test Day Experience

· 5,000+ practice questions w/ Qbank

· 7 full-length computer-based practice tests

· Mobile app for flashcards

· 2 GRE prep books

· 6-month online access

Self-Paced PLUS ($699) · Everything included on the Self-Paced plan

· GRE Math Foundations – Self-Paced

· GRE Advanced Math – Self-Paced

Live Online – Lecture ($999) · 21 hrs of live instruction

· 180+ hours of online instruction and practice

· 35 hrs of GRE Channel elective live instruction

· Official Test Day Experience

· 5,000+ practice questions w/ Qbank

· 7 full-length computer-based practice tests

· Mobile app for flashcards

· 2 prep books for the GRE

Live Online PLUS- Lecture ($1,299) · Everything on Live Online – Lecture

· 3 hrs of 1-on-1 tutoring

· GRE Math Foundations — Self-Paced

· GRE Advanced Math — Self-Paced

Live Online – Small Class ($1,199) · The same as with Live Online – Lecture, but with face-to-face Zoom Classroom

· Involves engagement and participation

Live Online PLUS – Small Class ($1,499) · The same as with Live Online PLUS– Lecture, but with face-to-face Zoom Classroom

· Involves engagement and participation

Private Tutoring · 10, 20, 30, or 40 hours

· Full-length practice tests with score analysis

· Prep books and access to on-demand practice questions

· Official Test Day Experience to walk you through every aspect of test day

· Hundreds of hours of on-demand instruction on the GRE Channel

· A full In Person or Live Online course

 

Manhattan

Interact ($399) · “Thousands” (at least 100,000) of practice problems and drills

· 6 full-length GRE practice tests

· 77 interactive video lessons

· Detailed video explanations

Just Math ($699) · Live instruction from a 99th-percentile GRE Math expert

· 12 hours of classroom time over 4 class sessions

· A comprehensive syllabus to guide your studies

· Manhattan Prep’s Math Strategy Guide

· The 5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems

· The Official Guide to the GRE

· 6 Online GRE Practice Tests

GRE Complete Course ($1,199) · 24 hours of classroom instruction over 8 sessions

· Daily vocabulary emails

· Learning science integrated throughout the course

· 100,000+ practice problems

· 66 interactive video lessons

· Detailed video explanations

· 6 full-length, computer-adaptive GRE practice tests

· On-demand class recordings so you can review concepts anytime

· Manhattan Prep’s GRE mobile app (available on iOS & Android)

· Interactive online syllabus

· Challenge problems

· Vocab flashcards

· 4 books

Private Tutoring · 10, 20, or 30 hours

· Full access to Interact for GRE, our comprehensive, on-demand learning experience

· 66 interactive video-based lessons taught by our expert instructors

· 100,000+ practice problems

· Detailed video explanations

· All lessons available on computer, tablet, and mobile devices

· 6 full-length, computer-adaptive GRE practice tests

· Manhattan Prep’s GRE mobile app (available on iOS & Android)

· Interactive online syllabus

· Challenge problems

· Vocab flashcards

· 4 books

 

The two brands offer similar highly effective formats that make your GRE preparation a lot more effective. For higher costs, you have video lessons, practice drills, practice tests, flashcards, and live instruction options. You also get the option of private tutoring.

If you are just looking at the basic package, you get more hours of instruction with the basic Kaplan package, compared to the basic Manhattan package.

Also, what makes Kaplan unique in the industry is that it offers an Official Test Day Experience. This simulates an actual day of GRE testing, complete with the travel to an official test site.

You’ll go through the motions of the real testing day, but without the real consequences. When the actually real testing day comes, the whole experience should be more familiar and therefore less nerve-wracking.

Advantage: Kaplan (slight advantage)

Course Access

The two brands both offer 6 months of access. Manhattan does offer shorter access for a lower price, although it’s hardly cost-effective.

Still, if you’ve completed a GRE study course with another brand and you want to supplement it with a month’s extra study, you can do that with Manhattan. You can’t do that with Kaplan because you pay for 6 months of access for everything.

Advantage: Manhattan 

Practice Questions

As far as practice tests, Manhattan only gives you 6 practice tests, while you get 7 with Kaplan. Then you also have the ultra-realistic Official Test Day Experience which is another practice test from Kaplan.

Kaplan also offers at least 5,000 practice questions. What’s more, there’s also the interactive Qbank that adapts the next question to how well you answered the previous question.

But you get 100,000 practice questions with Manhattan. Yes, really! It’ll take a very long time to answer them all. You can also be more certain that you’re less likely to encounter the same question twice for your practice tests.

That’s a number that’s hard to ignore, so it’s obvious who wins this comparison point.

Advantage: Manhattan

Flashcards

Both offer vocab flashcards with their mobile app.

With Kaplan, you get an efficient interface and you can customize your flashcard stack. The flashcards are focused on vocab questions. You can even track your performance with these flashcards.

Manhattan offers these flashcards as a separate purchase, and you don’t even need to enroll in the GRE prep courses to access them. What’s more, you get flashcards for math. The flashcards for the vocab question also have 2 difficulty levels (essential and advanced).

Kaplan wins this round if you want flashcards with the basic plan since Manhattan only offers these as a separate purchase.

However, Manhattan wins if you compare the quality of the flashcard options side by side.

Advantage: TIE

Video Lectures

Both brands offer video lessons, along with live instruction if you want it. The quality between the two brands is comparable, though Kaplan offers more hours.

With Kaplan, you get 180+ hours of online instruction and practice, plus 35 hrs of GRE Channel elective live instruction. You only get 77 interactive video lessons with Manhattan.

Advantage: Kaplan

Books

Here, Kaplan wins with its basic course, as it comes with 2 prep books included. However, the more premium plans include 4 books with Manhattan. Again, if you are looking for value included in the basic package, Kaplan will help you out here. If you are willing to pay a higher price, Manhattan offers more at a higher quality.

Advantage: TIE

Tutoring

You get the same level of high quality with the tutors offered by both brands.

Kaplan offers 10 hours of tutoring for $2,299. You pay $3,199 for 20 hours, $3,999 for 30 hours, and $4,899 for 40 hours. But there was a $300 discount across the board when we checked so do look for discounts available before making your final decision. This discount reduces the prices per hour to a range of $115 to $200.

Manhattan offers tutoring that’s a bit more expensive. The hourly rate is $225 an hour for the 30-hr package with slight variations for the other packages.

Advantage: Kaplan

Retakes and Refunds

The good news is the Kaplan offers a score increase guarantee. Additionally, even if your score did increase, but you were still unsatisfied with the overall result, you are given the option of retaking the course at no additional charge. However, if you choose to retake, the refund will not be available later.

Manhattan offers no score guarantee, refund, or retakes, meaning you should take their free trial serious and not commit until you are certain it will work for you.

Advantage: Kaplan

Conclusion

Let’s review how each brand did on our set of criteria:

Factor Winner
Prices Kaplan
Course Plans and Formats Kaplan
Course Access Manhattan
Practice Questions Manhattan
Flash Cards TIE
Video Lectures Kaplan
Books TIE
Tutoring Kaplan

 

This particular match up is pretty close to call. It may come down to your learning style, preferences, and budget.

Manhattan clearly wins with the number of practice questions, but Kaplan offers the unmatched Official Test Day Experience.

It’s up to you to decide which factors are more important for you. That way, you can pick the winner that’s best for you!