With all the hype about how Kaplan is the apotheosis of test prep, I recently forked out the cash for their classroom based course and have mixed reactions about the effectiveness of such service. Just curious if anybody else shares the same opinion....
Sure their textbooks provide extra practice, and easy to understand explanations, but is it really worth the $1400 for just eight classes??
First of all, my Kaplan teacher did not show up for the first two classes. He simply forgot he was teaching on those nights. So we were asked to agree on a makeup lesson, which really threw a cog in the wheel for those of us who were working and/or had other commitments. To add insult to injury, when the teacher finally did come, (he also happened to be a GRE and LSAT teacher) he frequently confused the subject matter that he was teaching. It was so frustrating getting responses like "let me get back to you on that", which by the way he never did. It was the details that we were interested in, and yet he just flat out froze up when confronted with questions like "Which comes first in the AWA, the Argument or Issue essay?" Or, when asked to explain the negation strategy for CR. Or even how to attack boldfaced questions.
I am not totally dissing Kaplan, but frankly they charge way too much for both a lack of specialization and limited services (no advanced PS or DS). $1400 for eight classes (the first class is a diagnostic paper test) boils down to about $180 per three hour session. One would expect to receive keen insight which can not be simply read in the answer explanations, but instead the instructor did just that- SIMPLY READ THE ANSWER EXPLANATIONS. I have paid a fraction of the price at a community college for much more difficult courses and received far better value for money.
Essentially, IMHO Kaplan is milking off it's research from a decade or so ago, not keeping pace with recent additions and changes to the test. True, the GMAT is standardized but it is and will continue to evolve (hence the experimental questions). Their course uses age old strategies and tips that one can easily obtain by actively reading a $25 textbook. Furthermore, Kaplan seems to prepare students for the 550-650 range, obviously sub-par for the course of the big leagues.
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