Company
GMAT PREP COMPANY

Kaplan

4.4 stars
(4.4/5) - 92 reviews
Joined: Aug 2014
Purchased Course: Jun 2014
College: UNC Chapel Hill
Industry: Advertising/Marketing
Verified Real Student Review

Re-takers beware - Money-back guarantee is impossible to invoke

1 star
August 17, 2014
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT On Demand 4 reviews
Teacher: N.A
Recommended forVerbal: No   Math: No
GMAT ScoresBefore: 690   After: 660
My issue is not so much with the course material itself as with the money-back guarantee. I scored a 690 on the test in April 2014, which is not terrible, but I had really been hoping to break a 700. The reason I chose to re-take with Kaplan was the money-back guarantee. I was willing to pay $600 to break 700 or at least improve my quant percentile.

First of all, their diagnostic exam is dubious at best. I called before buying the course to verify that the 690 could be used as my baseline score, and I'm glad I did, because I got a 550 on the diagnostic which is about 90 points lower than any of my previous practice exams. Towards the end of the course, though, all my practice exams were 710-740. So you can imagine my horror when I submitted the real exam and saw "660" pop up on the screen, with no improvement whatsoever in the quant section.

When I called yesterday to invoke the money-back guarantee, I was told that because I cancelled my scores, there was no way to prove that I actually scored lower. In order to get my $600 back, I'd have to pay $100 to GMAC to reinstate the scores, which would also be sent to all the schools. So basically it's a catch-22: if you do score lower, in order to prove it to Kaplan you also have to send your lower score to all the schools you're applying to and jeopordize your chances of getting in... which defeats the whole purpose of re-taking to begin with!

Even if i DID do that, the guy on the phone says because I didn't take the final CAT (which is listed as "Optional" on the syllabus), I was ineligible. If I had known that the "optional" tests are actually "required" then I would have just filled it out the night before. But I'm sure that even if I did do that, there'd be some other technicality on that they'd get me on.

I was so frustrated and work up I was literally in tears and asked if I could talk to the guy's manager. He said that his manager would call me back in "24 to 48 hours," and then, to add insult to injury, he offered to allow me to repeat the course for free. (How generous! Keep in mind that the on-demand program Kaplan offers is entirely pre-recorded, and granting someone access to it costs the company $0. And it doesn't work.)

I'm just so disappointed and disillusioned by this experience. I'd be interested to see the stats on what percent of people who do score lower on the exam after taking the Kaplan course, and attempt to get their money back, are actually able to get their money back. (I'm sure Kaplan's answer is that nobody scores lower so there are no stats on that.) I actually thought that the course material itself was helpful so it's possible that maybe nerves or just having a bad day caused me to score lower. Either way, if you're considering re-taking the exam I would definitely not be swayed by Kaplan's MBG because they have a lot of systems in place to make sure that it's not actually possible.

Joined: Apr 2014
Forum Posts: 2
Purchased Course: Feb 2014
Major: Computer and Information Sciences
Industry: Computers/Software
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

The practice tests were really useful

4 stars
May 7, 2014
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT On Demand 4 reviews
Recommended forVerbal: Yes   Math: Yes
GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A   After: 760
I took the on-demand course.
I'll list out some pros and cons below.

Pros -
- The 9 practice CATs were really useful. Helped me correct my timing issues, and build confidence as I saw my score go up from 640 to 700 during the CATs, and finally a 760 on the actual GMAT.
- You can take one practice test at a Pearson location. I found this experience really helpful. No surprises on test day.
- Quiz bank and other practice questions were of good quality.
- The little pocket reference book always stayed with me. I'd read a few pages every time I had a few free minutes

Cons -
- Website had a few issues when I was trying to use it. However, customer service was pretty good and helped resolve these issues within a day.
- Practice CATs are harder than the actual GMAT, especially the verbal section.
- I found the on-demand video lectures a little boring, but I didn't really need them.

Joined: Mar 2012
Forum Posts: 15
Purchased Course: Nov 2012
College: Rutgers
Major: Economics
Industry: Other Manufacturing
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Wish it was more useful

3 stars
December 5, 2013
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT Advantage - On Site 51 reviews
Location: Kaplan - Philadelphia 1 review
Teacher: Kevin Missett
Recommended forVerbal: No   Math: No
GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A   After: 590
I first enrolled in Kaplan’s Advantage On Site in November 2012. I attended the six on site classes and there are two or four additional online classes that you could take. Due to some personal issues, I had to delay my studies and I called Kaplan to freeze my account. Fast forward to July 2013, I restarted my studying and the Kaplan course (I was able to retake all the classes I had attended), as well as the online material. Though the instructor was engaging and had a positive attitude, I felt that the course itself was too generalized and one-size-fit-all. I was not able to pinpoint what areas I needed to work on and in the end, I took the GMAT in Oct 2013 and got a disappointing 590. (Though my CATs ranged from 600 to 670).

One of the most beneficial features of the Kaplan course, though, is that you can schedule to take your practice CATs at the actual Pearson center. Although I did not do very well on the actual GMAT, being able to take the CAT at the testing center took much of the worries and uneasiness away. I took the CATs three times at the Pearson center before I gave the actual exam. That experience had definitely been helpful.

I will be retaking the GMAT but will probably use a different source of study materials.

Joined: Aug 2013
Purchased Course: Aug 2013
College: Georgetown
Major: Finance
Industry: Aerosp/Autom/Transp Equipment
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Tested monkey

1 star
December 3, 2013
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT Advantage - Anywhere 13 reviews
Location: Kaplan - San Diego 1 review
Teacher: Joseph Tamborino
Recommended forVerbal: No   Math: No
GMAT ScoresBefore: 610   After: 600
Kaplan teaches process of elimination and question recognition, but does not teach rules or how to answer the question. If you are above average, I would not recommend taking this course. I have not heard of anyone taking this course and getting into a good school. If you scored a 450-530, kaplan mightbe right for you.

Problems:

For the verbal, no sc rule list. They don't teach subjunctive mood, modifiers, conditional verb usage, comparative terms, etc. I found list on this website that gave me idiomatic terms but you won't find that kaplan. The reading comprehension strategy takes so long that you lose valuable time and it won't get you any closer to answering the questions. Critical reading is also worthless. They teach how to recognize what the question is asking, but you won't get any tools to solve the question except POE.

As far as math goes, kaplan is strong proponents of guess and check. But if you guess 5 choices every time you will run out of time. Bad strategy if you need above a 650 for your school.

I was most drawn to kaplan for its extensive questions, but don't be fooled. They recycle questions by replacing the modifier. This makes the questions sound weird, you won't understand the explanation to the wrong answer, and you will be learning the wrong rules. After a while i learned the structure of their questions and got 760. Unfortunately they were nothing like the actual gmat and I ended up with a 600.

I took every CAT test, and a hundred quizzes. I know exactly what my strengths and weaknesses are, but I was never taught how to improve. With kaplan, I feel like a tested monkey.

Joined: May 2010
Forum Posts: 2
Purchased Course: Oct 2012
Verified Real Student Review

A disaster from a 620 to a 540

1 star
November 27, 2012
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT On Demand 4 reviews
Recommended forVerbal: No   Math: No
GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A   After: 540
This course is not at all comprehensive . Verbal strategy threw me over. I should have stuck to my own strategies. However, i got my money back but it left a mark in my record.
I scored a 620 in actual gmat 1. I was confident i could boost my score by atleast a 50 points and purchased this course after reading reviews of kaplan.
It was a complete disaster.
I do not recommend this course.

Joined: Jul 2011
Purchased Course: Jun 2010
College: Caldwell College
Major: Finance
Industry: Diversified Financial Svcs/Insurance
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Kaplan is good

4 stars
July 21, 2011
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT Advantage - On Site 51 reviews
Location: Kaplan - East Hanover 1 review
Recommended forVerbal: Yes   Math: Yes
GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A   After: 660
I took the on-sight, and honestly the teacher was not the most energetic or suitable for this course, but thank god one time I missed a class, and I had to make it up with an online class. And it was GREAT.
The online teacher was soooo enthusiastic and encouraging. It was so convenient. I didn't have to go anywhere for the class!! And if the teacher is going off about something that I understood already, I could do something else, like grab a quick snack or get a drink of water.

So... after the on-sight, my score went from about 400-500 to 660. However, I wasn't very pleased with the result because I got a 690 in one of the practice tests, so I've reregistered at Kaplan. I'm taking an online advanced course right now, and the most amazing thing is the teacher is, again, very enthusiastic, full of energy and very encouraging.

Best of all, at Kaplan, you can retake the course as many times as you would like, or even switch from advantage to advance like me, for free. You only have to pay once. They don't even charge you for the shipping fee of the new books!!! (If the newer course costs more, you might have to pay the difference, though)

A plus is their customer service is amazing. They answer my emails (yes they even take care of their emails very efficiently) very quickly.

I hope this help in your choice of tutoring service.

Best of luck,

Test taker

Joined: Jun 2011
Purchased Course: Feb 2011
College: Tufts University
Major: Economics
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

An excellent course with an excellent teacher

5 stars
June 27, 2011
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT AdvantagePlus - On Site 12 reviews
Location: Kaplan - Cambridge 3 reviews
Teacher: Eli Meyer
Recommended forVerbal: Yes   Math: Yes
GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A   After: 720
An excellent course to help prepare for the GMAT. I personally struggled with math, but both the verbal and quantitative sections were equally stressed and taught well. Kaplan's template for writing the essay portion of the exam also made tackling that section much less stressful. Eli is an excellent teacher and always explained new concepts clearly. He also took time to answer any questions during class, and made himself available for additional help before and after class as well as online.

Joined: Jun 2011
Purchased Course: Mar 2011
College: University of Pittsburgh
Major: Philosophy
Industry: Education
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Great way to prepare!

5 stars
June 27, 2011
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT Advantage - On Site 51 reviews
Location: Kaplan - Pittsburg 1 review
Teacher: John Barrow
Recommended forVerbal: Yes   Math: Yes
GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A   After: N/A
I had done no preparation and went into this class completely blind. I feel that was a good decision because the GMAT is all about strategy. You can study certain topics until you have them memorized, but without the Kaplan quick tricks you will waste time during the test and be generally inefficient in your efforts. This class was wonderful and helped me get to a place where I could do independent study/practice to boost my score those last couple points I needed to reach my goal.

Joined: Nov 2009
Forum Posts: 38
Purchased Course: Aug 2009
Verified Real Student Review

Great teacher, but overall course lacked detail

3 stars
March 5, 2011
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT Advantage - On Site 51 reviews
Location: Kaplan - Indianapolis 1 review
Recommended forVerbal: No   Math: No
GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A   After: 640
I have experience using Kaplan, Manhattan GMAT, and Knewton.

As far as Kaplan, I think it does a decent job at giving you broad skills needed to succeed on the GMAT, but it lacks detail on the more difficult subjects. If you need a significant score improvement or want to break well above 700, there are better courses available.

Also, the Kaplan CAT algorithm was seriously flawed when I was enrolled. I was consistently scoring mid-500s on the CATs, and on the actual GMAT I scored nearly 100 points higher. (though I have heard that they corrected this in the past year)

Joined: Nov 2010
Purchased Course: Mar 2010
College: University of Pennsylvania
Major: Chemistry
Industry: Consulting
Country: United States
Verified Real Student Review

Great course curriculum, made better with a great teacher

5 stars
November 18, 2010
Company: Kaplan 92 reviews
Course: Kaplan GMAT AdvantagePlus - On Site 12 reviews
Location: Kaplan - U Penn 1 review
Teacher: Jason Garbowski
Recommended forVerbal: Yes   Math: Yes
GMAT ScoresBefore: N/A   After: 730

I just wanted to write to say that this Kaplan course was a great class experience. Jason is a dynamic and enthusiastic teacher and that made the world of a difference. I was a little hesitant in signing up for a Kaplan class because I wasn't sure how much more value it would provide in comparison to just studying and practicing by myself, but in the end I'm very happy that I signed up. I liked the way Kaplan has structured the course such that it breaks up the types of questions and the ways in which they were asked. I'm also a big fan of the online interface, the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses, and the customizable quiz bank. Kaplan has clearly put in a lot of thought and effort into designing the Advanced GMAT course.

Jason's experience with taking and teaching the GMAT makes a huge difference in teacher quality. It provides the students a sense of confidence when their teacher can provide them a clear idea of what they will see and experience on test day, and what GMAC thinks about when they are developing the questions.

Finally, the class was held in William's hall on Penn's campus and there were quite a few Penn students (senior and juniors) taking the class. As a Penn alumni myself, I think this made for a better experience. When there is a high caliber of students, it makes for a more challenging learning environment and it makes class discussions of questions more interesting.