Kaplan Review - Official Review of Kaplan Test Prep
Review of Kaplan Test Prep. Review of the company called "Kaplan Test Prep"
My Experience With Kaplan Test Prep: Review
Searching for a review of Kaplan Test Prep? Here are some student experiences with Kaplan's Test Prep Program.
Warning: You need to read these before signing up for Kaplan's courses...
Getting a great score on the SAT is an important task that any high school student wants to achieve. As a senior interested in becoming an engineer, I had mastered my science and math courses quite quickly. Unfortunately, English came harder for me, and I was afraid of how it would affect my SAT scores.
So I decided to take a practice test and see what score I would earn. I was shocked to find that my English scores were so low, that the rest of my test score was dragged down. With just a 1,100 score on my first practice test, I decided to take several more. All to no avail: I hovered around 1,100 consistently.
That's why I decided to research some high-quality test prep companies before taking my SAT. One group that seemed to promise a lot was Kaplan Test Prep. I was very impressed with many aspects of their website and the services that they offered. So I took a chance on them, one that I will never get back.
In this Kaplan Test Prep company review, you will learn what kind of services this company offered, their guarantee of success, my experience with my teacher, and whether or not I succeeded. Unfortunately, this review is going to be more negative than positive.
While I don't think that Kaplan review courses are a complete waste of time, I can't recommend Kaplan Test Prep to anyone. My experience was just too problematic. Here is why you should stay away from this company and find another one like it.
The Services that Kaplan Offers:
The first thing I noticed about this company was that they offered a nice diversity of services. They had college admission preparation courses, including lessons for the ACT, SAT, ASVAB, PSAT, and even AP exams. However, they also had high school tests, such as the ISEE and the HSPT that could be useful to the right person.
Beyond those courses, I also noticed that they offered prep tests for dental school, business school, graduate school, and law school. The one that interested me was the GRE course, as I planned on getting a graduate degree in engineering after finishing my undergraduate work.
My biggest goal with this group, though, was to improve my SAT score enough that I could qualify for some scholarships. My parents are not wealthy, and college would be an expensive proposition for us otherwise.
So with my hopes high for improvement, I decided to investigate the rest of the site. There were many great options here, including the ability to view the teachers and learn more about their specialties. I liked this, as it gave me an insight into the many options I could use. Seeing a picture of them and getting to know them a little better made this a streamlined and efficient system.
The Kaplan Test PRep blog was also a kind of interesting read, albeit one that was highly promotional. Here, they discussed the various benefits of hiring a professional test tutor, gave simple tips on how to improve your score, and discussed their deals on tutoring services. As it was well-written and engaging, it drew me in and interested me in checking out their payment options.
Here was my first red flag about this company. While most test prep courses are little expensive, this site was more costly than others I had investigated. Below, I break down the costs of the various courses and discuss the one that I decided to try. Was it worth the money?
Kaplan Test Prep's Costs Were Too High (in Hindsight)
One thing that stressed me out about Kaplan SAT prep was the costs of their courses. While I knew this wouldn't be cheap, I wasn't quite prepared for the cost demand. The lowest course offering, which included teacher-led interactive sessions, was $599. The next level was $799, which included online or in-person tutoring sessions.
That was a lot more money than I had been hoping to spend. When looking at some of the other options, though, I found there were no reasonable choices. As programs that cost $1,599 and $2,199 were well outside our price range, I knew I would have to invest in something a little less expensive. However, I also wanted a program that was more comprehensive than the cheapest and most basic options.
With these considerations in mind, my final choice was their $1,199 program. This option included a prep course, a PLUS private coaching option, access to ACT resources, practice tests, and more. As I wasn't interested in the ACT resources, I focused heavily on the prep course and private tutoring. The prep course was pretty intense, I have to admit, and gave me a real insight into the nature of the SAT.
But what of my experience with their teachers? That will be touched on soon, my friends, but first I think I should discuss their money-back guarantee. Anyone who uses this service needs to understand the existence of this guarantee, as they are likely to end up needing to use it.
The Kaplan "Guarantee"
Though the prices of their services were rather high, I liked the money-back guarantee offered with all Kaplan review courses. They guaranteed that you would get a higher score or get your money back.
I liked that because it showcased a confidence in their system. It also ensured that I wouldn't lose money if I ended up doing poorly on the SAT. So even though I was still a little hesitant because of the high cost of their services, I decided to try them out.
Unfortunately, this is where this Kaplan Test Prep company review is going to turn negative. While there sure was a lot of promise with what this test prep group offered, I was very let down by the final results.
The Quality of Kaplan's Teachers
Another thing about Kaplan SAT prep that impressed me was their advertised teacher quality. They state that only 10 percent of all candidates for their teaching positions qualify to work with them.
In fact, they trumpet the fact that each teacher scored above the 90th percentile on the test that they teach. That quality was attractive to me, especially as they were said to train for nearly 40 hours to learn how to teach.
So I chose a tutor, paid the money, and got started on my teaching experience. There were frustrations here right away. There's no doubt that my teacher was impressive and intelligent, but they were simply not good at communicating with me. They had a condescending and even mean-spirited attitude towards their teaching.
When I contacted the Kaplan SAT prep service about this, they said they would talk to the teacher. After that, my tutor behaved better on the next session and even took my advice on what topics I needed to study. This improvement seemed like progress, but in our next session, things were just as bad as they had been before I talked to the customer support service.
How bad was it? They would laugh when I did poorly on their assignments and seemed to design them specifically to frustrate me. While they did offer some good advice on studying that I appreciated, I was pretty upset with the quality of their teaching. I could tell they were trying to help me, but they found my struggles comical.
Instead of feeling better because of my test prep, I felt worse. My tension and anxiety about the SAT were higher than ever. Frankly, I wasn't sure that I was going to improve at all in my score. Even worse, I was afraid I would end up doing worse.
My Results with Kaplan Were Not Impressive
On the day of the SAT, I was very nervous. I felt like I'd learned nothing from my teacher and had even forgotten some things. Is it fair to blame my teacher for this anxiety? Absolutely!
They were hired to help reduce my anxiety and increase my preparation for this test. Instead, my teacher increased my anxiety by offering me very low-quality teaching and little emotional support.
During the test, I found my mind seizing up on topics I thought I knew well. My strength in math and science became a muddle of numbers and a struggle to understand basic formulas.
As a result, there were portions I had to race to finish if I wanted to complete my test on time. Even worse, when it came time to tackle the English section, I was just as befuddled as ever.
I knew things hadn't gone well for me on the test. However, I wasn't quite prepared for the disappointment I would experience when my results arrived. I'd dropped 20 points on my previous score! Imagine my frustration and anger about this situation. How could I end up losing points in such an important test as this?
My Final Rating of Kaplan
So are Kaplan review courses worth it for you? Based on my experience, they are not. Paying over $1,000 to have a 20-point decrease is not my idea of a quality service! Thankfully, their guarantee was not an empty promise.
I was able to get my money back and use it to focus on paying tuition to college, a situation that will end up costing me a lot of money thanks to Kaplan Test Prep. Why will they cost me money? Mostly because I was unable to get most of the scholarships I needed, due to my decreased SAT score.
I was very tempted to give this company a zero or even one-star review for their services, but I did appreciate their transparent pricing options and their money-back guarantee. So they earn 2 out of 5 and my firm conviction that you should stay away from them.
And TJ's Story About Kaplan Test Prep:
In the Fall of 2016, I enrolled in Kaplan's SAT and ACT prep programs.
The Kaplan course included more than 40+ hours on in-class preparation. In addition, I received more than 5 books for the SAT and ACT, as well as online practice questions and diagnostic exams.
Here's my review and opinion of the Kaplan Test Prep courses:
"After enrolling in the Kaplan course, I immediately felt like I was one in a hundred in the course. Well, maybe not 1 in 100, but there were at least 20 other students packed in our high school taking the course. The instructor had attended a top college, but seemed haughty and holier than thou. I wasn't impressed with Kaplan's course. I felt outnumbered and overwhelmed by Kaplan's approach to test prep. Yes, the books were decent and the practice exams felt difficult enough to challenge me.... but the course felt impersonal and underwhelming. After taking the course for more than 8 weeks, I only saw a 20 point gain.
Upon spending close to $2500 for the course, a 20 point gain seemed as if I had underachieved. So my parents and I added some private tutoring from Kaplan. After spending another $2000 on private tutoring and an additional 4 weeks of preparation, my score only increased by 30 points. Yep. After 12 weeks, or 3 months of preparation with Kaplan, my score only increased by 30 points! I was quite disappointed overall.
I realize that the tutor they hired read a script, wasn't engaged with the classroom (read: students inside), and there was little to zero engagement with the students.... many of whom had set high goals and standards for achieving... were dismayed to realize the course was more like an auto-tutorial, or do-it-yourself versus other companies we had heard of. The problem was that our high school had chosen Kaplan Test Prep over other companies like Top Test Prep and Princeton Review. After reading further about these other companies, I realized the school should have never chosen Kaplan... but instead given students the options they needed to succeed.
So, if you're searching for a review of Kaplan and want to know your options... be sure to explore other avenues of getting your test prep. Whether you're preparing for the SAT, ACT or some other exams like the MCAT or GMAT, you need to realize test prep is super important. And choosing the right company, can be even more important.
Hope that helps you as you search for ways to prepare for your exams!
P.S. And by the way, I did go with another company after signing up for another SAT exam... and was glad I did."