Manhattan Prep is well-known and a mainstay in the test prep industry for a reason. With years of experience, Manhattan Prep offers students preparing for the GMAT a range of prep course options, covering different content at multiple price points. With its in-person, online, paid, and free GMAT prep course options, Manhattan Prep offers test-takers student-driven, personalized content across a range of difficulties.
I give Manhattan Prep’s GMAT course 4 out of 5 stars, and have previously graded them an A for accessibility, cost, and comprehensiveness compared to competitor GMAT prep courses. Regardless of which prep course you choose, you’ll have to get comfortable reading long passages. Don’t be afraid to start now and read on to learn why.
Manhattan Prep’s main talking points are two-fold:
1) Their longevity in the test prep industry has led to high-quality materials taught and explained by highly trained instructors and tutors.
2) Manhattan Prep offers a wide range of prep courses and materials for almost every price point and interest level.
Customer reviews across most platforms are consistently positive, and noted Manhattan Prep’s reputation for well-developed, consistently updated, and expertly taught test prep. The exception is that customers regularly indicate that Manhattan Prep’s physical materials are poorly edited and contain numerous errors, which I’ll discuss later on.
The well-reviewed course offerings at Manhattan Prep are consistent with their unofficial motto that “test prep is an investment” (in you, presumably), though quality comes at a price. Manhattan Prep’s GMAT prep course materials come at varying—but still steep—price points, including:
Like several competitors—but most notably Magoosh—Manhattan Prep offers free, online materials to test takers on a budget, or who simply cannot commit to the full scope of a test prep course. Unfortunately, Manhattan Prep’s free, online offerings are functionally just snapshots of their renowned, yet paywalled, materials and course content. If you are on a budget, Manhattan Prep’s comprehensive, structured, and diverse course may, upon initial review, seem out of reach.
These self-directed test prep materials might offer some test takers an additional path to engaging with Manhattan Prep’s GMAT expertise—self-study!
I previously rated Manhattan Prep’s GMAT prep books, specifically All the GMAT, as an honorable mention for pushing yourself during GMAT prep. If you’re not super keen on dropping a grand on a test prep course, consider diving into their much more affordable three-book bundle, which includes two e-books, six practice tests, question explanations written by the people teaching the much more expensive courses, video lessons on test and time management strategies, an online syllabus designed to keep you on track (because you aren’t paying someone else to do that), and tons of questions to prepare you to take the GMAT from the comfort of your living room.
This bundle clocks in at $98.52, making it the cheapest Manhattan Prep option by far, but definitely still more expensive than competitors.
Manhattan Prep offers progress trackers, online practice exams, small class sizes, and consistently updated prep materials. If you want to be pushed and you’re choosing to pay Manhattan Prep, you basically cannot hide from them.
Their commitment to ensuring that you, regardless of where you start, have the opportunity to critically engage with the content of the GMAT is evident in Manhattan Prep’s study plans and progress trackers. Having the option to follow a set schedule and being able to adjust it based on personal progress, is critical for students who may be less motivated to pursue self-study or take practice tests over and over again. For students seeking increased difficulty, Manhattan Prep’s course materials also offer a higher level of difficulty than their competitors. Though, you may want to consider alternative options, given both the cost and quality of the Manhattan Prep materials (discussed below).
Reviewers have consistently noted that, when compared to other test prep companies, practice tests, and practice question banks, Manhattan Prep’s materials have a steeper learning curve and higher degree of difficulty. While this may be daunting initially, mastery of the Manhattan Prep curriculum well prepares students for success on the GMAT.
Some students have also noted that Manhattan Prep does not offer the comprehensive, deep dive into specific portions of content (Quantitative, for instance) that other companies offer. However, the general scope of the material is both broad and deep enough to satisfy their needs.
Like the city that shares its name, the cost of most Manhattan Prep’s GMAT prep course materials is just too high. Though they note, and customers have brought this up in their reviews, that “test prep is an investment,” it’s a buyer’s market. Between the available options, you might be better off—and sorry to continue this analogy—looking to the outer boroughs for your test prep options. They’re just as cool, are catching up with their older, more established competitors everyday, and are way more affordable.
In the interest of traveling to the outer boroughs, you might consider pairing your Manhattan Prep course with the GMAT Official Guide 2020 Bundle: 3 Books + Online Question Bank. I’ve previously rated this bundle as the Best in Show of Advanced and Continuing Preparation for the GMAT. Manhattan Prep offers you difficulty but at the cost of typos, question errors and—at times—missing explanations. The GMAT Official Guide bundle offered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) provides a similar depth and difficulty, but doesn’t sacrifice quality. And it’s written by the writers of the actual GMAT test you’ll be taking, so you’ll know that the questions you’re doing at 11 PM on a Friday night will actually be worth it.
The best part of the bundle is that it offers an additional 600 questions across the Verbal and Quantitative sections. Both the Manhattan Prep and official GMAC materials skimp on these sections, which most students find to be the most difficult.
The bundle also provides a comprehensive overview of the grammar and math fundamentals covered on the GMAT, which might be helpful to returning students or test takers who just want to brush up on the basics before covering the more difficult content.
Manhattan Prep has been in the test prep game for quite some time, and their longevity isn’t unwarranted. While their course prep options may be out of financial reach for some test-takers, the variety in terms of both depth and cost makes them a viable choice for most test-takers. Looking past the perhaps disproportionate cost of Manhattan Prep’s course offerings, I find that the added difficulty, commitment to progression, and focus on covering all of the GMAT bases are enough to earn them 4 out of 5 stars.