Kaplan MCAT Prep courses

In any given year, between 70 and 80% of MCAT takers enroll in a formal MCAT prep course. In this post, I review the courses offered by the two most popular test prep companies, Kaplan and The Princeton Review.

Decisions, decisions….

  1. The MCAT is tricky and terrifying, so you need serious help to prepare.
  2. Medical schools care about your MCAT test score a ton, so you had better not screw this up.
  3. How absurdly high their companies’ instructors scored on the MCAT.

You’ll notice that none of these tell you anything about why one company offers the best MCAT prep course, over another company’s. They’re focused, instead, upon manipulating your fears about the MCAT and getting you to sign up right then and there. That doesn’t mean that either of the courses are bad by any means, but it does mean that ambitious pre-meds need to do some digging on their own (reading this page is a good place to start) to find out what distinguishes the MCAT prep giants from one another.

Now for…

The B A S I C S

The Princeton Review MCAT Prep Course

Reviews of The Princeton Review’s 3-month MCAT prep course are positive on the whole. I occasionally encounter students who complain that their instructors were weird or condescending, but that’s rare and it’s the risk (albeit small) you run when signing up for any prep course. Students tend to speak very positively about the number of class hours and the breadth of their study materials with The Princeton Review as well.

Class Time and Practice Tests

The main classroom TPR offer comes with 42 class sessions and 20 one-on-one office hours with an instructor, who is on hand to help you work on problem areas or questions you don’t understand. That comes out to about 105 hours total, which is more than any other MCAT prep course on the market offers. Instruction is offered by a team of certified instructors, all of whom are considered “subject experts.” Also included in the normal course are 19 full length practice exams, including the 8 official CBTs from AAMC. The rest are created by TPR. A typical semester-long course meets 3 days per week for 2 1/2 hours per class session. The cost is $2, 299-$2, 499, depending on the location.

Extras

  • You get five Diagnostic Exams to assess your strengths and weaknesses in the five different MCAT subjects, plus a Reading Comprehension exam.
  • A recent addition to the TPR classroom course is its new “Amplifire” online workbook, which integrates and complements the practice material you get with the TPR MCAT book set. More on this below.
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