About the ads

Kaplan vs. Princeton Review for GRE course

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Psychman23, May 18, 2006.

  1. SDN is a nonprofit organization. Services are made possible through the generous support of SDN members and sponsors. Thank you.
  1. Psychman23

    Psychman23 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    16
    SDN 2+ Year Member

    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Anyone have any advice in deciding between Kaplan or Princeton Review for a review GRE course? Any insiders out there that really feel one is more beneficial then the other? Any horror stories that people feel like sharing?

    Thanks.
  2. Haqiqa

    Haqiqa Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    New York City
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I took Princeton Review - I was really happy with it because I had a great instructor. However I think the MOST IMPORTANT thing in preparing for the GREs is to take full practice tests, on the computer, within the time limits. Don't half-ass it and practice just the math and verbal without the essay - do the whole thing. Try to practice with actual GRE exams as well - I found that both Kaplan and Princeton review's practice questions tend to be easier than the actual GRE.
  3. mmcarson

    mmcarson Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    east coast
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I also took Princeton Review and recommend it highly. One cool thing is that they have their instructors take the GRE every so often to keep up on changes made and types of questions asked, at least my instructor had. I raised my verbal and quant scores 100 points each. You have to commit to it though and put in the time, especially since you'll be paying so much to be there.
  4. NervousApp

    NervousApp Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    11
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I took PR and it didn't help AT ALL, and I did all of the homework and exams. IMO, my instructor wasn't very good.
  5. positivepsych

    positivepsych Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Messages:
    331
    Status:
    Psychologist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I vote that you don't waste your money on an overpriced course. Everyone knows that they're for lazy people that can't study on their own. I used a prep book for 2 weeks, took the exam, and did fine.
  6. Psyclops

    Psyclops 1K Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,261
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I would also be inclined to think that the courses are a waste of time and money.
  7. JatPenn

    JatPenn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    223
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    We're seeing some individual differences here. How well you do on the GRE might be a function of the quality of prep course if you were struggling to begin with, but if not, the course won't have much of an effect.
  8. JatPenn

    JatPenn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    223
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Ooh, you aren't going to make any friends talking like that! :laugh:
  9. Ratch1980

    Ratch1980 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Messages:
    59
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I took Kaplan. I thought it was worth it because they gave me LOTS of materials (books, flash cards, CD-ROMS, and access to online study materials and practice tests). My teacher also provided extra optional "office hours," and he read over our practice essays and gave feedback.
  10. positivepsych

    positivepsych Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Messages:
    331
    Status:
    Psychologist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Truth hurts.
  11. Psyclops

    Psyclops 1K Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,261
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I never took the courses, so I wouldn't know. My opinion is probably another one of my elitist outlooks on things that I don't have any idea about. I feel like given you put some good effort into studying, you could acheive the 100point increase or whatever they offer. Of course if you have a 300 to begin with it wouldn't be worth the grand, but if you had a 550.....I'd pay a grand if that was all I was missing from my app.
  12. dakwegmo

    dakwegmo Irregular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    West of Between
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Whichever you decide, don't stick exclusively to any one company's study materials. I studied with one book and was getting perfect scores on their practice tests, but when I switched to the practice tests you actually get from the GRE folks, my scores dropped considerably.
  13. lazure

    lazure Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Messages:
    334
    Location:
    Canada
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I'm with Psyclops here. If you can't study vocab and review grade 9 math on your own then you will not be able to hack it in grad school. I studied for 1 month on my own and I did fine. Good Luck :)
  14. Galia

    Galia Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Messages:
    56
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    It is not a matter of ability, it is a matter of self discipline. I had a similar test a while ago (GMAT) and did well... nevertheless I am considering taking the class just because I can not force myself to spend time on that bs. And I am not of a procrastinator type, normally.

    As for the question - I am going right now through the choice, they seem very comparable. Looks like the choice can be driven by price (PR is 100 cheaper) and location / schedule convenience.
  15. su2009

    su2009

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Status:
    Pre-Psychology
    :thumbdown: I had a horrible experience with the Princeton Review in Providence, RI for my GRE preparation and I do not recommend it at all. They canceled the course and never notified me, proceeded to promise me things that were never granted and I left for school not finishing my preparation. The corporate office of the Princeton Review is a mess and they have no idea what they are doing. I'm trying to warn everyone else because I looked to these message boards when trying to decide between PR and Kaplan and I have regretted my choice every since. The instructors are very nice, but the company as a whole is awful and makes the experience counterproductive. So, just beware. I honestly feel it would have been more beneficial with no instruction.
  16. cara susanna

    cara susanna Predoctoral Intern

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    4,465
    Location:
    Midwest
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Really? I loved my Princeton Review tutoring.

    And I know that those comments are old, but I resent the implication that prep courses are for lazy people. Some people just can't teach themselves.
  17. IamAriDO

    IamAriDO

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    172
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale Part Duex
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I would like to put my weight behind Princeton Review. I was initially going to be doing a Counseling MS/PhD when I graduated......The online course that I took was priced at around $500 and was six months of access. It required about three months to complete, and I could do it when I wanted, where I wanted and on my own terms. I scored awesome on the GRE and completely trust Princeton Review online, i wish they made one for the mcat (had to take kaplan..blah)

    just my 2cents
  18. BamaPsych

    BamaPsych

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    87
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Hello,

    I thought I would chime in since I have recently taken the GRE and used both the Kaplan and Princeton Review books.

    First, note that I did not take the prep course, I just bought the books.

    I feel that the princeton review was the better one out of the two. The kaplan book seemed very sterile and straightforward. The Princeton Review actually felt like a real person was talking to me. I know it sounds silly but the lessons/instructions were worded very casually but still very informational. I thought it was much more entertaining and while that isn't important, it helped keep me interested.

    With that being said, I would still reccomend both books because the Kaplan one has vocab words that the Princeton review didnt,and in my own personal opinion, memorzing vocab words from the books is the single most effective way to raise your verbal score.

    I hope this helps!
  19. poijadsf

    poijadsf

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Wow, sorry I'm not as much of a genius as you.

    I used prep books too, read every word of them, memorized every word in the practice verbal section, and still got a 530 on the real verbal section.

    The truth is, it's a lot like the SATs, as far as practicing. Unless you can already remember words and grammatical rules from the SAT that you haven't heard ever since, you're going to need a little more than a book.

    And no, the books don't tell you everything. If you want a good verbal score, you need to read a dictionary and an MLA handbook every night.
  20. cara susanna

    cara susanna Predoctoral Intern

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    4,465
    Location:
    Midwest
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Not necessarily. Studying vocab doesn't always help. I had the vocab; I just had to learn how to approach the questions.

    I also don't really know how the MLA handbook would help...
  21. numbereight

    numbereight

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    103
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    the benefit of the course is that it's a regimented, fully planned sequence of study. further, you can get additional practice with the question types that you need extra help with jut by going online. The best thing about the course is the CAT practice. I took 4 CAT's before taking the GRE. practice is the best thing to prepare you i think. however, the course also clearly communicated very good strategies for all the question types, and if i had questions, there was an instructor to answer them.

    basically, i think the course is pretty optimal prep for the GRE. first time i took the GRE i studied almost every night using books for about 5 weeks. i did well. next time I took a 5 week kaplan course. i went up 150 points. the books did not communicate the material (to me anyways) as well as the course.

    part of the course may be very elementary and and boaring (the parts that you're naturally best at). but i found that the time I spent working at it made that material more automatic. for example, i started out as great at sentence completion. when i learned the strategies i answered the questions faster and had a way to quickly check my work.

    best,
    #8

    p.s. i think that memorizing vocab IS important, but it is way behind other things. like cara says, you need to first learn the strategies. a few examples that i can remember: learn the common analogy bridges. there are not that many different ones(as of now). learn how to approach antonyms using highly concrete definitions and considering alternate meanings. Do multiple word sentence completion by plugginig in the simplest word first and then go back and chek the others. Learn the types of reading comprehension passages, types of questions, and learn how to break down a passage into topic, scope, and jist etc... you can probably find all this in a book but i think it's better articulated in the course.

    p.p.s: the books sometimes say "this book is all you need to study for the GRE." they lie.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  22. cara susanna

    cara susanna Predoctoral Intern

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    4,465
    Location:
    Midwest
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Yeah, I took Princeton Review online tutoring and it helped a lot.
  23. Wildcat06

    Wildcat06

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    388
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I think it depends a lot on the person. I was able to get the score I wanted using the Kaplan big book (w/ CD), Kaplan vocab flashcard book, and Kaplan GRE/GMAT math workbook.

    For the Psych GRE I used the Princeton Review book and the practice tests by REA. I also used an intro Psych Textbook by Myers (very old edition I bought cheap on Amazon). I was out of school for 2.5 years and needed a serious refresher.

    But I never took classes for the SAT/ACT either. It never made sense for me.

    EDIT: I also used all the free ETS materials apumic mentioned below. Very helpful.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  24. apumic

    apumic Oracle of the Sheet

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Messages:
    3,988
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I took the PR course and found it mind-numbingly useless. They focused entirely on gimmicky "techniques" that generally made anything beyond the easiest of math & verbal problems much harder instead of actually helping students to develop the actual skills necessary to perform well. If you are shooting for the mean (~1000), then I can see where PR's techniques might be helpful but if your hope is to go from good (say 1100 or 1200) to very strong (say 1300-1400+), PR is pretty useless. I'd suggest buying the GRE practice tests by ETS (book--7 tests) and doing 1 section (30 min)/day for a month. That along w the 2 ETS CBTs (free) and the free sample CBTs on PR & Kaplan's sites should be pretty sufficient preparation if your math & vocab skills are already decent. If math is weak, take an online tutorial (PR's is better than their class, IMO). If verbal is weak, you'll need much longer to improve it than for the quant. For verbal, I'd suggest 1-2 hrs/day advanced reading in other subject areas (i.e., business
  25. apumic

    apumic Oracle of the Sheet

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Messages:
    3,988
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    (cont'd... Sorry, phone limit)

    -related texts, the New York Times, etc.) for 3 months, use a GRE vocab list (e.g., PR's Hit Parade) w/ flashcards (introduce ~10 new words/day for those same 3 months and aim to use each new word in everyday conversation).
    For the AWA, I'd suggest writing a sample and having someone evaluate it. Since your AWA will rarely help you and only gets negative attn if it's far below what would be expected based on your verbal and composite scores, if your AWA falls closely in line w/ a diagnostic of your score overall (via one of those practice CBTs), don't worry about it. A rough guideline for time to spend on it might be 1 hour/wk for each point your AWA (as approximated by a strong writer you know and trust looking at ETS' rubric) is below your typical verbal score's percentile equivalent, so for instance, using approximated values it would look as follows (using m=4.5 & sd=1.0 for AWA, m=500, sd=100 for verbal):

    3.5=~400
    4.0=~450
    4.5=~500
    5.0=~550
    5.5=~600
    6.0=~650+
  26. cyclohexene

    cyclohexene

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Taking these types of courses benefit students, whether or not similar results are attained w/o them is undebateable. There would have to be a long-term study.
    In my opinion, spending the money to have a tutor lets the student learn new 'tricks' in solving problems that they wouldn't have known otherwise. This is especially true for the quant sections. Secondly, the organized structure perpetuates an effective learning environment and the resources are totally focused on test specificity. I would highly recommend taking the best tutoring classes only because of the effective track records.

Share This Page


About the ads