Hail the Fallen Hero: Stanley Kaplan Dies at 90


I used to tutor children for a number of subjects, including the SATs and GREs. Some of my favorite materials at the time were from Kaplan. I just found them effective and efficient: Kaplan materials are clearly organized to directly target the skills required for standardized tests. They focus on principles and reptition, guiding the student in how to learn. I know several people–myself included–who still credit Kaplan and similar programs for the size of their vocabulary.

What strikes me about this profile is that Stanley Kaplan claims to have been motivated by a real passion for the value of standardized tests. Kaplan felt he was denied medical school not for his intelligence but rather for his lower-class education, ethnicity, and lack of connections. Standardized tests would have allowed him to show his ability despite the approach he took to getting there. That’s interesting  for two reasons. First, that Kaplan was a true self-made man. Skaplanecond, it’s another example of an important truth: you just can’t get the kind of enormous success that Kaplan achieved without the passion of being on a crusade.




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