The Avengers: Endgame recently hit theaters and has already earned 1.2 billion dollars in ticket sales. I myself contributed $14 to those sales. As I sat here contemplating how to introduce Manhattan Prep and The Princeton Review to you, scenes of Iron Man and Captain America leading the crew came flooding back to me.
Manhattan Prep and The Princeton Review can be thought of as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. Yes, they have different personalities, but both will save you in a time of crisis that could come in the form of prepping for the GRE.
This article will provide you with an overview of the GRE courses Manhattan Prep and The Princeton Review have to offer. The companies are very similar, especially when it comes to practice questions, study material, and full-length GRE exams.
Furthermore, they keep their prices competitive with one another. Manhattan Prep does stand out from its competitors by offering payment plans for students.
The difference between the two companies is what they choose to emphasize in their programs. The Princeton Review focuses on using their cutting edge technology to help students optimize their GRE score. Manhattan Prep focuses on teaching effective test-taking strategies in a fun way.
The Princeton Review GRE prep courses are filled with tech savvy tools that students can use throughout their studying. The adaptive algorithms and practice GRE exams–that come as close to reflecting the actual GRE as you can get outside of ETS–allow students to track their progress and target their GRE strengths and weaknesses.
Overall, Manhattan Prep takes a more straightforward approach to their test prep than The Princeton Review. Manhattan Prep gets back to the basics with good teachers and thorough books.
Manhattan Prep and The Princeton Review both offer self-paced online GRE courses along with scheduled classes. For students who do not feel they need test prep for Math and Verbal, The Princeton Review gives students the option to purchase just the Verbal part of the self-paced program, or they can also purchase just the Math. Although Manhattan Prep doesn’t offer this option, they do sell a one month or six month access plan to their course, whereas The Princeton Review does not. Both cases can provide a more economical way to enroll in their programs depending on your circumstances.
Also, Manhattan Prep has more class options than The Princeton Review, which I will summarize below in a side by side comparison:
1 Month Access – $249
6 Month Access – $399
Just Math – $299
Just Verbal – $299
Both – $499
Online – $1,199
In-Person – $1,399
Online – $1,199
In-Person – $1,299
If you have strong reading comprehension skills, and simply need to focus on GRE math, this class is for you.
Although this course does cover all portions of the GRE General Test, the emphasis will be on advanced mathematics topics–seeing as a high Quantitative Reasoning score goes a long way when applying to an MBA program.
The self-paced GRE program offered by The Princeton Review is made up of modules with three components: PowerPoint like slides that provide an introduction to the topic at hand, a video of an instructor(s) taking students through test strategies and content, and then follow-up GRE questions that provide students with the opportunity to practice what they just learned. All three components present information clearly and are to the point. I felt the teachers were engaging (which unfortunately is not always the case with test prep companies) and the practice questions perfectly matched the strategies of the lessons.
Manhattan Prep’s self-paced online course offers videos that are highly interactive and easy to watch. The program is made up of three levels that cover Math and Verbal that increase in difficulty. At the end of each level, students take a full-length practice test. Each level is made up of three components: Learn It, Drill It, Prove It.
In the Learn It section, there will be an instructor walking students through the topics, which definitely trumps simply listening to a voiceover. The Drill It section will start with very basic questions that will allow students to feel comfortable with the underlying strategies before moving on to GRE type questions in the Prove It section. As a GRE teacher, this is exactly how I structure my lessons with students.
Overall, I do feel that Manhattan Prep’s teaching style is more in-depth than The Princeton Review. This can be a good thing if you need a lot of assistance, but it can also be a bad thing if you already know GRE strategy.
The biggest resources The Princeton Review offers are state-of-the-art study tools that help students optimize their GRE progress. The Princeton Review’s DrillSmart produces practice questions that will match a student’s skill level. The algorithm will auto-generate questions based on previously missed questions. Once a student demonstrates they have mastered the underlying content, the system will increase the difficulty level of those types of questions. I think this is extremely efficient because it can be challenging to pick out your own practice problems that will adequately challenge you.
Furthermore, The Princeton Review has an interactive score report that provides students with the ability to clearly see their strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to quickly target the types of questions you need to be focusing on.
The primary resources Manhattan Prep offers with their complete GRE courses not only include their books–which are my favorite on the market–but also The GRE Official Guide by ETS. The fact Manhattan Prep values this book enough to ensure it is included in the curriculum shows they have the students’ best interests at heart.
The Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides do not simply give students quick bullet points of recommended strategies like most companies. Manhattan Prep writes in great detail about their test-taking tips.
Over the years I have noticed that how I present a strategy could make total sense to one student and be complete gibberish to another. Because Manhattan Prep will dedicate an entire chapter to one strategy, it is likely a student will fully comprehend how and why that strategy is effective. If at first you don’t understand what they are saying, odds are by the end of the chapter they would have explained it in a way that clicked.
When it comes to practice questions that accurately mimic those written by ETS, Manhattan Prep and The Princeton Review are pretty much on par. The Princeton Review is at fault for making some–emphasis on some–of their math questions harder than what you will actually see on test day, whereas Manhattan Prep stays within the proper range of difficulty level.
After taking a full-length GRE exam, written by The Princeton Review, you will receive an in-depth score summary. This “analysis overview” tells you an abundant amount of useful information such as the amount of questions you got right–and wrong–in each section, the amount of time you spent on an entire section, and your average pace for questions answered correctly versus incorrectly. Also, you will receive data on the amount of questions answered correctly for specific question types such as “text completion” and “sentence equivalence.”
Manhattan Prep has a total of six full-length GRE exams for students to utilize–written by Manhattan Prep. As mentioned, the Quantitative Reasoning questions will be extremely reflective of the same difficulty level of the ones on your actual GRE. The explanations Manhattan Prep provides are in-depth and there is a heavy focus on the strategy behind answering the questions. Furthermore, the tests are section adaptive.
Overall, Manhattan Prep provides more in-depth explanations when it comes to GRE strategies–especially for the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections. However, The Princeton Review takes a similar approach as I do with my students when it comes to presenting their test-taking tips. I call this the “think big, then small” approach.
When a student is starting to prepare for the GRE, they should focus on strategies that should be used throughout the entire exam, then hone in on specific strategies to be used for the Verbal/Math sections, and then learn the strategies for individual types of questions. This is exactly how The Princeton Review teaches their strategies.
For example, The Princeton Review will start off by presenting tips that might seem irrelevant, but as a veteran tutor I can vouch that most students do not think of these things when they are overwhelmed with re-learning algebra. For example, The Princeton Review will show you how to efficiently utilize your scratch paper, use the mark button on the computer to your advantage, and optimize the amount of questions you get correct with their “take the easy test first” approach. Also, The Princeton Review has come up with clever phrases for many of the strategies they present in order to help students memorize them.
Manhattan Prep is not necessarily going to teach strategies in a quick, bullet point summary way. They have mastered the strategies needed to truly conquer the Verbal and Math sections and will take their time teaching you them. I highly recommend Manhattan Prep for those who struggle with reading comprehension.
Manhattan Prep does not cut corners and will relay their strategies in a manner that “clicks.” Many companies will simply tell students to read the passages in order to “get the gist.” Manhattan Prep will dedicate an entire chapter to breaking down how to actually do this.
Manhattan Prep will convey their strategies in modern and engaging ways. For example, Manhattan Prep tells students to read a passage and anticipate how they would go about texting a summary of it to a friend. This analogy can help a student understand the concept a lot better than simply saying “get the gist.” Furthermore, Manhattan Prep thrives of their relatable, compassionate, and fun instructors. If you struggle with critical reading, the last thing you want is a teacher who is arrogant or boring.
If you are a student who struggles with standardized tests, are far off from your target score, and are prepared to dive deep with your GRE preparation I recommend Manhattan Prep. Manhattan Prep truly structures their courses and books with the student in mind. Their in-depth explanations of strategies will prepare you to maneuver through the GRE efficiently.
If you feel you are already a good critical reader and have mastered GRE approach, The Princeton Review technology will provide you with adaptive practice questions and score reports that will allow you to target the individual questions you are struggling with.