Kaplan Test Prep Reviews
Kaplan has long been a leader in the test preparation industry, and the company's online delivery system makes courses convenient and accessible. In the spring of 2012, I was able to eavesdrop on and interview a high school junior who was taking Kaplan's SAT Classroom Anywhere. The review below is based on both my own and the student's impressions of the course.
What You Get for Your Money
At $599, Kaplan's SAT Classroom Anywhere package isn't cheap. However, students do get quite a bit for the investment (note that some of the details have changed slightly since 2012-Kaplan is constantly updating and evolving their products):
- An orientation session to get enrolled students logged into the system and to introduce them to the software, instructor, and teaching assistants
- 6 live, online 3-hour classroom sessions. These sessions include live streaming video of your instructor, an online whiteboard for problem solving, a chat area supported by the teaching assistants, and frequent student polling.
- 4 full-length, proctored SAT exams (the test time is in addition to the classroom sessions)
- Smart Track - an adaptive online instruction program that lets you customize your study plan, watch instructive videos, and access over 1, 000 practice questions. The software tracks your homework, progress and performance.
- Two books that are mailed to you: the 714-page SAT Course Book that approaches 18 test topics through the Kaplan Method and the 264-page Book of Practice SATs with four full-length practice tests. The student I observed also received SAT in a Box, a set of 600 flashcards (200 cards for each of the three exam sections); these cards are now provided in digital format that you can use on your smartphone or computer.
- Kaplan's Higher Score Guarantee. Kaplan's guarantee is two-fold. If your SAT scores do not go up, you can get your money back. If your scores don't go up as much as you had hoped, you can repeat the course for free.
The Class Schedule
The student I observed took SAT Classroom Anywhere over three weeks from February 14th to March 8th. The class met Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sundays from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (a bit longer for the proctored exams). That's a total of 11 class meetings - the orientation session, the six three-hour classes, and the four proctored exams.
Kaplan has a lot of options that work with different student schedules. You can choose from classes that meet one, two, three or four times a week. Some options are during weekdays only while others are just on the weekends. Kaplan times the classes to end right before an SAT test date. Note that the class does have homework, so the more compressed class schedules can be very demanding on a student's time (before each classroom session, students must take quizzes on what they have learned and watch videos on what they will cover in the next class).