Kaplan SAT Review: Is it the Best SAT Prep Course?
Everybody knows that acing SAT is a critical factor for any incoming college student.
Like your child, a student’s eligibility to attend a particular university depends heavily on his college admission exam results. And the better the score, the higher the chance of getting into either his chosen school or any prestigious colleges.
The dilemma is: what approach could help your child boost his chance of earning a high score?
Enter Kaplan SAT prep course.
That being said, using my in-depth Kaplan SAT review, I will help you see why the program could help you and your child with his studies and, at the same time, determine whether it suits your kid’s learning preferences or not.
What is Kaplan SAT?
Founded by Stanley Kaplan, Kaplan Inc. is a test preparation company known for its various educational products and services such as GRE and SAT. Its story started way back in the year 1938 when its founder decided to teach a number of students in the basement of his parents’ house in Brooklyn.
Since then—after more than 80 years of providing college and graduate school admission courses and other standardized test prep programs—Kaplan Inc. is now the leading test prep provider known in its field.
The test prep company is now also one of the largest providers of educational-related products and services worldwide; and employs approximately 12, 000 teachers and staff across 28 countries.
What does Kaplan SAT offer?
Kaplan SAT, on the one hand, is a program made specifically to help incoming students with their college admission exams. The course aims to provide a versatile and, at the same time, a highly-efficient approach to teaching that would fit the general preference of high school students today.
It offers a variety of SAT services such as live online and in-person lessons, on-demand classes, and even one-on-one tutoring. It provides customized study plans as well.
To further put things in perspective, Kaplan SAT prep course summarizes what its features and services can do in three ways. And these are:
- Learn it. Kaplan provides conversational video lessons about SAT. Each video contains animation, music, equations, and written notes.
- Drill it. The program comes with hundreds of drills to see whether students understand each lesson or not.
- Prove it. The SAT prep course also provides practice tests—or exam-like questions—which enables students to put their knowledge to a test.
How does it differ?
There are too many great features that set Kaplan SAT apart from its competitors given how long the company has been treading the industry. And while some provide up to par services, the difference it has compared to others is relatively huge.
Its study plans, for instance, is known for being the most expensive plans among all SAT prep course providers. I understand that at first impression, it is sort of a drawback. But the quality of its course materials and other related services—to which I will discuss more in the next sections—could justify its prices.
Take its SAT channel for another example.
Kaplan SAT created an exclusive medium composed of on-demand and live lessons. It does not seem like a feature for decoration since the majority of the lessons cover complicated and advanced topics, which I believe would be handy for students particularly those who are having difficulty understanding SAT lessons.
It also provides live SAT classes that most of its competitors (Magoosh and PrepScholar, for instance) do not offer. Its live classes are both available in online and in-person formats too. A variety of SAT books are available for purchase as well in case there are students who prefer it.
But on top of that, the one factor that I deem unique and makes Kaplan SAT stand out among its rivals is its collection of lecture videos. Its videos are far more excellent than what its competitors provide. From the design and animation to its contents, you could see how much effort Kaplan put into it.
Its general format is light and easy to digest which as well fits most high schoolers’ preference when it comes to studying. Thus, making it one of Kaplan’s top features.
Who are its ideal users?
Not sure whether Kaplan SAT would suit your child’s needs and demands? Here is a list of ideal users I came up with to help you further.
- Financially capable families. The first thing to consider when it comes to Kaplan SAT is whether you can afford it or not. Because, unfortunately, Kaplan’s study plans are pricey. Its lowest study plan, for example, starts at $199 while its premium plans start at $1, 299.
- Students who require private tutoring. The SAT prep program provider also offers one-on-one tutoring in both online and in-person formats. Some of the packages come with a limited free private tutoring, which I find cost-effective.
But if you think your child needs a tutor for the whole preparation, Kaplan has a standalone plan dedicated for one-on-one tutoring too.
- Visual and auditory learners. Another thing to consider is whether the student is a visual and/or auditory learner. Although Kaplan offers physical books, given its vast number of lecture videos and other digital materials, it is best if the student is a visual and auditory learner.
In fact, even explanations of its practice questions are in video format too.
- Students who prefer the traditional classroom setting. If your child likes in-person classes more than remote learning and studying at his/her own pace, then Kaplan’s SAT is an excellent choice since it offers face-to-face classes.
What are the pros and cons?
To put things more in perspective, here is a quick overview of Kaplan SAT’s benefits and disadvantages.
- Extensive course structure
- Top-tier interactive video lessons
- Customized study plans
- SAT channel
- One-on-one tutoring
- High quality SAT materials
- Expert SAT instructors
- Score increase guarantee
- Expensive plans
- No mobile app
- Not all practice questions have a video explanation
Kaplan SAT Review: what you need to know
In this section of my Kaplan SAT review, I will explain more of its features, plans, and pricing, as well as a few things that I think the test prep program should improve or add.
Kaplan SAT’s top features
Kaplan has powered its SAT prep course with an innovative and flexible study approach and, at the same time, incorporated cutting-edge technologies that I believe are individually necessary.
On the other hand, there are a few aspects that I believe give more value and make Kaplan SAT what it is today. In other words, Kaplan SAT has its own set of best features.
That being said, here is a detailed explanation of how each of these “top features” work.
1. Comprehensive course structure. If there is one thing that separates Kaplan SAT from other test prep providers, I believe it is its extensive SAT course structure. It should not be that surprising given that the company has been in the industry for over eight decades.
But given how other companies often put behind this aspect, it is worth noting that Kaplan still gives value to what its students truly need; and that is to learn and master SAT.
That said, Kaplan SAT’s curriculum—in general—is divided into five levels. And within each phase comes a subject-based module that students need to complete. These modules, as mentioned, cover one standalone lesson each only which, of course, are crucial to mastering the SAT. Some of the topics included are sentence structure and problem-solving. You will find these lessons in video format as well.
Moreover, each module then includes a set of study materials based on Kaplan’s “Learn It, Drill It, Prove It” system, which are one-topic lessons, drills, and practice questions.
2. Live SAT classes. Another remarkable aspect I found in Kaplan is its live SAT classes, which are also part and the “other half” of its curriculum.
Kaplan’s live SAT classes have over nine sessions and each class takes about two hours long. And since it is live, each class comes with a fixed schedule that students need to sign up for first.
But how about its contents?
Basically, the live classes resemble the lecture videos when it comes to content. The only difference is that live classes are not scripted. It, in fact, gives more information about a certain topic since the instructors explain the topic in real-time.
In return, it also enables students to interact with them and could ask questions if needed.
But do take note that Kaplan does not offer in-person live classes rather online-only, unlike Princeton Review SAT.
3. Free diagnostic test. To make sure that all students will receive what they need, Kaplan developed a diagnostic exam to create a tailored study plan based on a student’s weaknesses and strengths.
Basically, the diagnostic exam covers several subjects including Writing, Evidence-based Reading, and Math. And once you are done answering, Kaplan SAT will give you a detailed report of your test results, particularly your performance on major SAT topics.
Aside from that, you will receive answers and explanations for all questions too. A great way to help students understand the question as well as the solution better.
But what I find remarkable about it is that Kaplan claims it to be “realistic.” Hence, allowing the examinee to experience a real SAT test environment.
4. Kaplan’s study materials. The SAT prep provider also provides top-tier study materials. To put things in perspective, I enumerated below how each material makes Kaplan SAT unique compared to its competitors.
- Practice tests. Seeing Kaplan SAT’s practice exams, you can confidently say that the test prep company knows that it plays a significant role in mastering SAT. It is because aside from providing eight full-length practice tests, its tests are not just practice questions but real SAT exams.
Surprisingly, four out of eight practice tests are official College Board SAT exams—giving students that real SAT experience.
The only catch is that is not as many as what Princeton Review SAT provides.
- Video lessons. Another feature to commend about Kaplan SAT is its video lessons. In fact, it has the best lecture videos if compared to what other SAT prep courses have.
The reason? Kaplan SAT’s lecture videos fit perfectly with its target audience, which is high schoolers. The design is engaging enough, and the length is not that short nor lengthy to bore teenagers. And to be specific, the video takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes only.
The videos also include light animations, catchy graphics, music, written notes, and even equations. And when it comes to the instructors, the teachers talk in a conversational tone to, of course, maintain the students’ interests.
- Online drills. Each module comes with a set of drills as well to see whether you understand a particular lesson. Each topic comes with about six to seven exercises and may take in several forms.
- SAT books. Last but not least is Kaplan’s SAT textbooks. For those who will purchase the course’s premium plans, the test prep company will then send you a set of textbooks with topics primarily about SAT.
Basically, the books cover the same topics in the video lesson. The only difference is that the book provides better and expounded explanations. But not only that. It comes with testing strategies as well and even content review to help students further.
On the one hand, if you opt for a lower-tier plan, you can separately purchase Kaplan’s SAT prep books through Amazon.
5. Kaplan SAT tutoring. If your child needs a one-on-one lecture, Kaplan SAT offers a separate plan dedicated for private tutoring only as well. And just like its SAT materials, the provider guarantees a tailored tutoring plan.
Kaplan guarantees that all their SAT tutors were selected according to their knowledge and empathy too. The only drawback I noticed is that the program is kind of expensive.
6. Kaplan SAT’s supplemental resources. Although not as many as what other test prep companies give, Kaplan offers a few good supplemental resources that I believe are useful to help your child master SAT too.
- Kaplan’s Qbank. Qbank is a library of more than 1, 000 questions that Kaplan claims to be “realistic.” Essentially, the questions resemble official SAT problems across all subjects including Math and reading-based passages.
The feature comes with a “review button” as well which enables users to check and analyze their test performance. The feature does not provide full analytics, however. Still, it gives basic reviews and metrics that I believe could help you improve your SAT score.
But what I truly find remarkable about Kaplan’s Qbank is that you can customize your own questions. Essentially, it helps students improve the areas where they are weak.
- SAT channel. Kaplan also has a SAT channel wherein students can stream video lessons live. The lectures cover several major SAT topics—whether be it basics or advanced lessons—that students can access and stream.
The videos are available for on-demand streaming as well. Hence, you can choose what topic you want to learn and skip those you know well already.
- Free live events. Kaplan offers SAT events for free too. These events or seminars tackle topics concerning SAT strategies and how to efficiently apply them in real life. But do take note that these events are available for online streaming only and you have to register first to get a seat.
7. Score increase guarantee. To assure parents and students, Kaplan SAT offers a score increase guarantee too just like any other test prep provider available in the market today. The policy lets students get a tuition fee refund if, in case, their SAT score results flopped and did not improve.
I find it a great feature and assurance as well since it gives the guarantee that the coursework could help the students. All plans under Kaplan SAT come with the said policy so whatever you select, you can take your money back if things do not work.
On the one hand, the policy is only applicable in certain situations. It is because Kaplan has a few technical rules that the student needs to comply with beforehand to get a full refund.
To learn more about that, you can check its official website at Kaplan SAT.
Kaplan SAT’s plans and pricing
Kaplan offers multiple SAT plans and has the same number of plans Princeton Review SAT offers. The SAT prep course provider offers multiple study plans that were created to fit high schoolers’ preferences and needs today. Almost all plans contain the same materials and features too, and only vary in price and quantity of contents.
To put things in perspective here is a quick overview of Kaplan SAT plans:
1. Live online. As its name suggests, Kaplan’s Live SAT plan revolves around live interactive classes. Its price starts at $699 (or as low as $59 per month) for whole year-round access. In terms of content, it comes with 18 hours of live teaching about test strategies and content reviews, an extra 16 hours of video content via the SAT channel, and eight full-length practice tests.
Aside from that, it includes Kaplan’s Qbank too and a set of four SAT prep books.
2. In-person. Similar to Live SAT, the prep course provider’s in-person plan comes with various study materials and features and similar content. The only difference is the mode of teaching, which is in this one class are conducted in-person.
3. Unlimited Prep. If you prefer a complete and exclusive SAT package with longer access, its Unlimited Prep plan would be an excellent choice. Its contents are the same as those mentioned in the previous plans.
The only difference is that you will receive additional materials specifically for PSAT. The duration of the subscription will last through December of your senior year as well. Unlimited Prep’s price starts at $1299.
4. SAT tutoring. Kaplan’s SAT tutoring package, on the one hand, contains services and materials solely for face-to-face tutoring. Starting from a price of $1999 (or as low as $167 per month), you will receive one-on-one tutoring, access to a Live Online course, four full-length practice tests, and two SAT prep books.
The plan comes with four options of tutoring hours too. You can opt from 10, 20, 30, and 40 hours of private teaching; whichever you prefer.
Things to take note of
1. Pricey plans. Kaplan’s SAT program is clearly a top-tier educational service for all modern high schoolers. However, there is a high chance that not everyone can afford it since all its plans are too expensive. Even its basic plan will cost you $699, which is twice and even thrice the price of other SAT prep programs.
2. No mobile app. Does your child prefer phones over laptops? Because, unfortunately, Kaplan’s SAT does not have a mobile app. I would recommend Magoosh SAT instead.
Do I recommend Kaplan SAT?
Absolutely. Aside from the fact that it has been in the industry for more than eight decades and is known as an industry expert, I find its approach towards standardized exams like SAT is innovative and versatile.
All in all, its features are worth every penny you will spend on it too. From its customized study plans to its private tutoring, it is safe to say that Kaplan truly values your child’s future.