OP -- you asked for some back up to why I support Kaplan. I will provide some while responding to a few claims.
Nikrall wrote:I don't follow what they do religiously. However there are a few reasons why I dislike Kaplan. A lot.
They allow little to no flexibility in their teaching.
This just isn't true. Yes, we do not allow teachers to teach their own or other methods. After all, Kaplan has spent a lot of time and effort developing our methods and students pay for Kaplan's method. Period. However, while you do have to follow a lesson plan, there's room for interpretaion (which I'll get to in a minute). And excellent teachers HAVE to be flexible to adapt to different students.
Teachers are encouraged to emphasize any points they feel beneficial to the class. They decide how to present the material to the class, sticking to the teaching guide merely as an outline -- NOT a script.
Nikrall wrote:Kaplan only requires teachers get in the 90th percentile to teach the test... Now I suppose in a sense its alright since all they want you to do is essentially read out of a book, but a good teacher should be able to answer questions as well.
This point has been beaten to death. 90th percentile is merely a MINIMUM requirement. And it's just that.. a requirement, not a guarantee. We don't just hire someone based on score. And, as it has been argued countless time, high score does NOT mean good teacher. All applicants MUST complete training to make sure they can actually teach the material and know what they're talking about. Otherwise, they're cut. We only hire about 1 in every 6 teachers who apply.
And while 90th percentile is a minimum, a vast number of our teachers FAR exceed that minimum. I don't know of anyone in our offices in Long Island who can't score in the 170s.
Nikrall wrote:Furthermore the methods that Kaplan uses are, frankly, horrible. They are not teaching people the skills necessary to understand the test, they are teaching people how to get questions right without knowing the skills necessary to understanding the test.
This is just wrong. We teach formal logic (conditional statements) -- a significant skill. We teach analyzing arguments -- separating arguments into evidence and conclusion, and using that information to determine the assumption -- a vital skill. We teach making deductions, combining statements to make inferences, using keywords to recognize tone and structure of arguments and passages. In short, most of our course is about developing skills -- not tricks to avoid understanding those skills.
Nikrall wrote:And scope? Really? I have to beat it out of all my students (many who are Kaplan refugees) that just because something is not mentioned in the stimulus does not make it necessarily the wrong answer.
That is NOT what scope is about. Scope is about the core of what the argument is discussing. Consider this: "I dug a flower garden last night. This morning, the flowers were dug up. My neighbors have a dog that loves digging. Thus, it was their dog that dug up my flowers."
The scope of the argument is about what dug up the flowers. Consider these two ways to weaken that argument.
(A) My neighbors also own a cat.
This doesn't really weaken the argument because the argument is about what dug up the flowers, not what kind of animals the neighbor owns. What makes this answer out of scope is its lack of direct relevance to the scope of the argument. Not because it mentions a cat (something not mentioned in the argument), but because it doesn't address the argument.
(B) My neighbors also own a cat, which is also fond of digging up flowers.
NOW we address the scope. By tying the cat to digging up flowers, it offers an alternate explanation to the situation. Even though the cat is a new piece of information, the context of the answer is within the scope of the argument.
Nikrall wrote:Oh. And don't get me started on the money back guarantee. That is a scam of the first order.
Seriously? It's a scam that we offer people money back if their score doesn't increase from the diagnostic? And it's a scam that we allow students to repeat the course, for free, if they didn't get a score they wanted -- regardless of that score? And it's a scam that we allow students to repeat the course, for free, if they're not even READY to take the exam? (That's right -- they don't even have to TAKE the exam to repeat the course for free.) Give me a break.
Listen, Kaplan's methods may seem confusing to some. However, I have been teaching them for six years. I see them work. You just have to understand what they're saying, and a good teacher should be able to do that for you.
This test is very pattern driven, and Kaplan recognizes that. That's why our course is designed to exploit those patterns and teach students the SKILLS to recognize those patterns and answer the questions.
OP -- if you want more information, PM me. I'll answer any question you have honestly and openly.