If you’re prepping for the GRE and weighing your test prep options, you’ll want to peruse our Kaplan vs Target Test Prep GRE, in which we compare and contrast each company’s offerings in detail.
Content Access Period
High Score Guarantee?
Before we dive into the heart of the Target Test Prep vs Kaplan comparison, let’s briefly introduce each company.
Kaplan GRE Overview
You’ve likely heard of Kaplan even if you’ve never taken a standardized prep course. Millions of students worldwide have completed their programs. As of February 2023, Kaplan has a 4.6/5-star rating on TrustPilot.
Kaplan GRE pros:
- Well-structured on-demand, self-paced course
- Magnificent instructional video quality
- Live instruction available
- More robust emphasis on verbal section than Target Test Prep
Kaplan GRE cons:
- No mobile app
- More expensive than Target Test Prep
To get a better idea of what Kaplan offers in its GRE prep packages, take a hard look at Test Prep Nerds’ comprehensive Kaplan GRE review.
- Simulated GRE practice test in a real testing center
- Complimentary lessons on the GRE Channel
- Higher Score Guarantee allows for full refund of course
- Plus add-on includes 1-on-1 tutoring & 2 self-paced math courses
- Full-length practice tests are not real GRE practice questions
- No disclosed vetting on GRE teachers
Target Test Prep GRE Overview
Target Test Prep, while newer than Kaplan, has nonetheless established a sterling reputation for no-nonsense GRE prep. The company currently has a nearly flawless 4.9/5-star rating on TrustPilot out of more than a hundred reviews.
Target Test Prep GRE pros:
- Truncated prep packaged in 40 short modules
- Individualized, easily customizable study plans
- More generous score guarantee
- More affordable monthly prep packages available
Target Test Prep GRE cons:
- No true free trial available
- No live classes
In Test Prep Nerds’ in-depth Target Test Prep GRE review, we provide further detail about what is and is not included in Target Test Prep’s GRE courses.
Course Features Face-to-Face
I was granted access into both of these courses to be able to fully test out the platform, look at the questions and quality, and get an overall feel for the course that I will describe later in my review.
Both of these courses made our list of the 5 best GRE prep courses for 2023 – but how do they stack up against each other? We’ll get right into the Target Test Prep vs Kaplan GRE comparative analysis on a feature-by-feature basis.
Here’s a quick price comparison, with the least and most expensive courses from each company, respectively.
With Target Test Prep, the varying prices ($99 for one month, $299 for four months, and $399 for six months) are purely a function of the access period. You get the same materials with each option.
Kaplan’s price differentials, on the other hand, are a function of teaching materials and instruction (more affordable on-demand-only vs more expensive live online instruction).
Practice Questions & Tests
Kaplan’s GRE prep contains no fewer than 7 full-length practice exams plus over 2,500 practice questions in its proprietary QBank. Compare those figures with 5 practice tests and 4,000+ practice questions from Target Test Prep.
Here is a practice question from Target Test Prep’s platform
I loved, and preferred, Kaplan’s practice exams when I was working through the content. I came to this conclusion not just for their superior quality and quantity but because they allow for customization in terms of timed vs untimed, difficulty level, etc.
Plus, Kaplan touts its Official Test Day Experience which it uses to “simulate a realistic test day scenario.” So if you have testing anxiety, getting the real feel for the actual test in a controlled environment may help steel your nerves on game day.
For more GRE practice questions, see our full guide of free GRE practice questions.
Quality of Class Material and Instruction
Target Test Prep’s materials, in my estimation, over-emphasize the Quant section over the verbal. Depending on whether you struggle more with math than words, this might be a benefit. Kaplan is more balanced in terms of quant vs. verbal. I think if you don’t really have a specific weakness in Quant, you’re fine with either of these courses.
Target Test Prep breaks its materials down into two “phases”: first comes the “Learning Phase” with the meat of the instruction, followed by the “Practice Test Phase” consisting of five practice tests.
Each Target Test Prep module consists of four parts:
- “Review Quiz” covering past material to ensure retention
- Lesson work (text-based + video)
- “Chapter test”
- Review of missed answers with detailed explanation
Unfortunately, if you’re into live classes, Test Prep Scholar doesn’t have any.
But Kaplan does! In its Live Online class, Kaplan treats preppers to 21 hours of live instruction, sectioned out by subject and topic. Access to the online materials lasts for six months – a shorter duration than many rival test prep companies.
Kaplan’s courses also come with their set of GRE prep books, which can be extremely nice for students who like to have some physical books to work through alongside the online course. See more of our favorite GRE prep books.
In total, between the live instruction and recorded videos, you get over 40 hours of instructional video content from Kaplan.
For Target Test Prep, the most you get video-wise 1,000+ short, basic videos to accompany each chapter. They’re not as engaging or entertaining as Kaplan’s, but they get the job done in a pinch.
Kaplan’s sublime platform is where it truly separates itself from all competition, in my opinion – Target Test Prep included. It’s clear that countless man-hours (or woman-hours, if we’re being gender-inclusive) went into its creation.
Organizing your practice materials and tracking your progress is super easy on the KapTest portal.
But Target Test Prep’s platform is almost – almost – as clean and intuitive as Kaplan’s. One feature, in particular, that I really appreciated was the customizable study plan that allows you to plan your prep either on a schedule or task-by-task.
Score Guarantees and Refunds
Kaplan has a program called the Higher Score Guarantee (HSG) that applies to many of its test prep packages, including the GRE. While there is no promise of a specific score boost, the deal is that you will improve your score on the GRE from baseline – baseline represented by a previous GRE exam score or a practice test score – or Kaplan will refund your money.
Target Test Prep’s guarantee is more specific: if your baseline score is 310 or under, the company promises a minimum 15+ score increase. If your baseline was over 310, it promises a non-specific score increase.
Having covered the materials, platform, and user experience, here are a few other standout feature comparisons to help move your decision-making process along.
While not exactly free, Target Test Prep offers five-day access to all its materials for $1. Of course, you have to enter your credit card info to partake. However, the company won’t automatically bill you for the full course price if you forget to cancel.
For Kaplan’s part, you can get a free GRE practice test and other odds and ends like GRE channel episodes with no financial obligation. Also, Kaplan plays host to free online events such as GRE workshops on a regular basis.
For more free practice from the test takers themselves, be sure to access the free POWERPREP practice tests from the ETS.
Target Test Prep offers real-time, live customer support on its platform. Allegedly it’s 24/7, but they don’t seem to work in the wee hours of the morning – which is understandable.
Check out Kaplan’s contact page for numerous contact methods across social media platforms, phone, and email. Each time I’ve contacted Kaplan with technical or academic questions, someone in a position to know the answer has always answered in a timely manner.
Sad news for people who love apps: neither Kaplan nor Target Test Prep has one. I’m a little disappointed by this, considering the prevalence of apps for other study programs. If having a mobile app is imperative to your studies, you may want to consider Magoosh GRE.
The Bottom Line on Target Test Prep vs Kaplan GRE
Use Kaplan’s GRE course if:
- You’re a visual learner (better video content)
- You want a live instruction element
- You need to focus on verbal and quant
- You want hardcopy prep books
Use Target Test Prep GRE course if:
- You just want a quick month-long quant review
- You want a more specific score increase guarantee
- You would like the assistance of a highly customized study plan
- Limited budget is a primary concern
Kaplan vs Target Test Prep GRE FAQs
Here are quick answers to your burning frequently asked questions (FAQs) vis a vis Kaplan and Target Test Prep.
Is Target Test Prep enough as a standalone GRE course?
Yes, especially if you want to focus on quant.
Do both Kaplan and Target Test Prep GRE come with books?
No. Some Kaplan GRE courses come with books but Target Test Prep’s courses do not.
Is a GRE prep course worth it?
Yes. According to a wealth of scientific research (as well as student testament), high-quality prep courses reliably improve test scores.