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Dump Kaplan, switch to EK = 34

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Dario, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Hi y'all-
    Kaplan is the biggest waste of time on the planet. Recently, about 3 weeks ago, I studied all of examkracker's materials, took an mcat and jumped from a 23 to a 34. The main reason: EK's study is based off the MCAT, kaplan is based off your college textbooks. This is a huge difference. If your struggling, and want at least the avg. on the MCAT, I highly suggest dumping your kaplan material and study with EK. I have never seen a bigger waste of time and money than kaplan. I still use their tests, which I would rank as a 6 compared to the real thing, but their review material is a waste of time. If you flunked college, or never went to college, then use kaplan. But if you went to college, all you are doing is re-memorizing things which probably are not on the mcat. I would estimate that 45% of kaplan's review material is actual mcat prep. Beware to those taking kaplan, as I have heard so many similar complaints, KAPLAN IS WAISTING YOUR TIME!!
     
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  3. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

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    I thought tweetie asked people not to post things like this...
     
  4. SolidGold

    SolidGold Florida winters are the best!

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    He's just giving his opinion. For everyone with his opinion, there is someone else with high praise for Kaplan. EK's method for review is very different than Kaplan's and is a very good option for those not seeing any good results with Kaplan. But in the end, how you do on the MCAT depends on how you study for it.
     
  5. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

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    I'm starting to see that the materials you use have little to do with how well you do... like you said... it's all about how well and how much you study... not what course you take.
     
  6. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel

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    But I really feel that sometimes a course is more designed toward what you understand and the way you think or would like to think. Also, people should be able to express their opinions freely on this board although I do think the OP could have stated their opinions without bashing Kaplan.
     
  7. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

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    Yeah... why didn't s/he bash PR or Barrons or any of the other ones... why pick only on Kaplan? :(

    I guess I was suspicious that this person works for ER... but maybe not.
     
  8. Maybe some more info for your clarification:
    1) I am student
    2) I am sharing my honest opinion after taking kaplan and then switching to EK. I believe many people (including some of my friends) pay the ridiculous $1200 for prep course, study their tail off, take all of the practice tests, yet only raise their score by 3-7 points.

    This subject has been spoken of before, but I do believe, as I experienced it myself, that Kaplan will take your score to the national average (27-28, even though I didn't get this high), but EK will take you above the avg. The reason is simple and EK points it out and I will too: critical thinking skills are developed not innate. This is what EK attacks. Kaplan works well for some students, but not most, because all students have different critical thinking levels. EK provides the opportunity to develop these skills. Kaplan does not. I am not a lone ranger in this. I have seen and heard of many people taking Kaplan and failing miserably on the mcat because their material does not raise your critical thinking ability up as much. I guarantee that as EK becomes more popular, they will dominate the mcat test prep market in a few years. In closing, opinions do matter, and if it weren't for opinions many people will continue to be sucked into the kaplan country club, not even able to make par.
     
  9. jot

    jot

    i took kaplan - and i'd probably agree with dario about ek from what i've seen. i was happy with my score, but i thought workign hard on kaplan material was like workign at 60% efficiency, there are better ways to maximize points. kaplan better pick up the slack or they are going to be in trouble. but whatever, it worked.
     
  10. I remember a PR instructor bashing EK a while ago..... That and I heard of a Kaplan intructor bashing EK on amazon.com.

    Anyway as long as someone has actually taken the class I don't see why they shouldn't be able to voice his/her opinion on it. I would hate to see other premeds spend that kind of cash without feedback from other premeds.

    I'm one of those unfortunate premeds who fits Dario's description. I have taken Kaplan before and did not do well on the actual MCAT. I switched to EK and my score jumped up 5 pts on my first practice test.

    I think what we want to avoid on this board are imature people posting "My test prep is better then yours :p" As long as people are posting from actual experience then it's all good.
     
  11. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    At the following link,

    http://www.studentdoctor.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=39697

    you posted that you got an MCAT score that was ">35". Here you say 34. One lie after another. If you're so full of ****, why should anyone believe a single word you say? If a $1200 course was completely useless, trust me, it would be no longer in operation.

    Kaplan isn't "designed" to bring people to the "national average". (and BTW, you speak just like all the EK promoters... that everyone else brings people to the "national average"). It depends on the student, their potential & innate ability to improve, and degree of preparation. If someone comes in with an MCAT score of 15 and improves to 25, then yes you can claim that they went to the average. But there are also people who come in with a 24 and leave with a 34.

    Over the past several weeks, I tried the Kaplan method, and also the EK method for verbal. Both have significant flaws in my opinion. EK is seemingly bashing Kaplan for doing exactly what they are doing themselves, I wonder if people actually notice that. Everyone always has something to sell, and we must objectively and cautiously screen for marketing hype.

    For the record, I'm taking a Kaplan course and find it to be lacking, and am supplementing with EK. Kaplan does have a lot to offer though. There are pro's and con's to everything. Unfortunately I don't have beefed up MCAT scores to add substance to my arguement, but I think logic will prevail here.

    Limit
     
  12. Kry

    Kry cranky

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    I absolutely agree with Limit.
     
  13. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member

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    limit,

    What kind of flaws have you noticed with the EK method? Please do share. :) Their method is actually working for me, but I would like to know what flaws you found?
     
  14. SolidGold

    SolidGold Florida winters are the best!

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    I think that EK has worked well for me too, by far and away than Kaplan did. Hopefully it pays off on the big day. But like I said earlier, how well you do really depends on how and how much you study for it. I have a friend who got a 33 by studying mostly from his science textbooks and just followed the outline given in the MCAT student manual. He did this in addition to getting a hold of the PR Science workbooks and some verbal passages to practice with. Then he did a few AAMC practice tests. All this in 3 months to get a 33, a score that I don't think anyone here would mind having.
     
  15. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    Well, I'm not here to bash EK, as I'm using them myself. Perhaps the word "significant" was an exagerration, but I do notice a few inconsistencies.

    Page 24. He assumes that a even "a very slow reader", meaning everyone currently reading the book, everyone is able to read ~250 words per minute (600 words in 2.5 minutes). I'll use this information in a minute.

    Page 25. First, the fact that our short term memory can hold 5 items is preposterous. That's his reasons for not reading the questions first, because there's at least 6 per passage. First of all, how is he discerning the length of the 5 items? What about a number? Are you unable to remember a phone number (7 items)? With practice and relative ease you can train your mind to remember volumes.

    Nextly he says "don't use fancy speed reading techniques." I think my biggest mistake when reading this book the first time was saying to myself "whatever you say Jon, I guess no speed reading for me", and flipping to the next page.

    Try this link as a test, see how fast you can read:
    http://www.speedreading2000.com/readtest.htm

    I'm willing to bet that at least several of you read slower than what Jon assumes is a "slow reader"... And thats in a simple test, imagine in the densely thick verbeage of the MCAT humanities passages, if you have to subvocalize, or pronounce in your head, those big rediculous words? How much has that been slowing people down by "reading every word" as EK advocates?

    Practice for a few hours to try to completely eliminate subvocalization (thats the little inner voice inside your head pronouncing every word that you read, hence limiting your reading speed by the speed of your speech).

    The faster you read a passage, the more volume of data is stored in your short term memory per unit time, allowing you to retrieve it much faster, and know its location within the passage for rapid retrieval. Ever since I started doing this, I've been finishing passages in 5-7 minutes, and for the first time, started doing passages and getting 0 wrong on some of them. Priod to this, It would take me 9-11 minutes per passage, I'd forget where things are located within the paragraphs, I'd be behind time, forced to guess, etc.

    If he doesn't understand what speed reading is, perhaps he shouldn't denounce it? "Reading speed is unlikely to change significantly in 10 weeks?", wrong again, it can change in a matter of hours. It did for me, at least, and I'm hardly a special case.

    The rest of his strategy is, like he says, partly common sense, and some is just similar to Kaplan's method of reading actively for the main idea. There's no tricks really, all the books out there have similar strategies so its no big deal, some books just present it nicely. Kaplan's books are really a bore to read, EK are more fun. The EK Physics book is definately top notch, a pleasant surprise.

    Limit
     
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  17. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

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    In defense of Kaplan, Kaplan has put FAR more money and effort into research than any other prep course. They don't just think their methods work.... they KNOW their methods work when used correctly. They do hundreds of trials. You may think Kaplan is full of it... but they're not... they've tested their ideas and methods over and over again... Maybe it doesn't work for you, but the fact is, it works for most people. Statistics show that something like 80% of people who took a prep course and GOT IN to medical school took Kaplan.
     
  18. Maybe it's just where I live but the majority of people say that Kaplan hasn't worked for them. I'm not trying to bash Kaplan that's just my observation.
     
  19. In Dario's defense in that thread s/he stated that s/he got a 35 on the MCAT. On this thread Dario states that his mcat jumped from 24 to 34 when he switched methods. Probably meaning his practice tests jumped up after switching. But I do find an instant jump of ten pts a bit suspect.

    Doesn't kaplan stress mapping the passage and finding/underlining key words? That is as far as you can get from the EK method. Also to me it seems that Kaplan's method works better for detail questions while EK works better for questions dealing with the main point. However I did notice that their answer types are exactly the same (ie beyond, round a bout etc)
     
  20. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    First, you are missing the point. This is how you spot liars. If you were a detective interrogating a suspect, this is something that you would call an "inconsistency". There's no 2 ways about it. If he ALREADY got ">35" (meaning HIGHER than 35, NOT a 35), what purpose does it serve to use number 34 within the context of past practice exams when he could have made a much stronger comparison to his real mcat score?

    If a person is a liar, why should we listen to any of his/her claims? When assertions are made, pro or con, those that tend to make vague notions and hide logical flaws contribute to marketing hype. I'm spotting it and calling him out on it, with good reason.

    What business does he have trying to scare people who are currently taking Kaplan? Does it mean that they have thrown away their percious money and are unlikely to improve? What purpose do his remarks serve for people with 1 month left to study?

    Secondly, let me just say that there are similarities and differences, both of which are striking. I doubt you'd disagree with that. Their books are dozens of pages long, so it would be pointless for anyone to sit here and compare and contrast the two. Both are good in their own ways, both yield results.

    Limit
     
  21. On a side note how is that you guys get that type of quote format. With the bold print and the line indecating the poster?
     
  22. Dudes and dudettes, freakin settle down!!! Okay, first of all there are 7 students (me included, 3 grad students) who are all working in the same lab. We all use the same computer and the same name "Dario" since that name is always on the computer!!!! This is not the person who made the original post as she does not work on sundays. All of the undergrads are pre-meds and there is only one guy who is applying to MD/PhD positions, which is why he put concerns in that thread. He is a damn smart guy and I think he basically aced the mcat in april. The poster of this thread is a female who took kaplan and I believe scored between 18 and 25 in her practice tests. I'm not sure if she is still using kaplan's tests or what, but I do know that she did order all of EK's material (including Audio Osmosis), raised her score. She took the EK exam 1D, and I saw her results also. She is not lying. However, what you must understand, is that she has been studying since mid-December. I also don't think she had her science facts cold. In addition, because of her study tactics, me and another guy also ordered EK's material and are currently studying while taking kaplan and experiencing similar woes to what she did. You must understand a little background info. for her story to make since. From my personal experience, I also have raised my score 6 pts. after finishing EK's chem. and physics books. There has been a growing support for EK over kaplan with each person in our lab. Moreover, 1 of the grad students who used EK this past spring scored in the upper 30s on his mcat. I think the thread that discussed critical thinking skills is the key. Good luck.
     
  23. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member

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    If I remember correctly, didn't you use some of your own methods because Kaplan's verbal method wasn't working for you?
     
  24. Limit-
    Do you really believe in speed reading? Any other people try this? How much has your score improved?
     
  25. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member

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    Just hit the quote button located in the lower right hand corner of the post you want to quote.
     
  26. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    Most speed reading courses say they can have you reading 1000 words per minute. That sounds extreme, but I've seen demonstrations where a guy will read a whole book in a matter of minutes, literally flipping a page every several seconds.

    The general consensus is that for the time limit, each passage should be done in about 9 minutes.
    I find that with 400 wpm (the first step, once you get rid of subvocalization) seems to be sufficient to finish most passages in 7-8 minutes or faster. Its always a trade-off between comprehension and speed when you get very fast initially, but with practice you can only improve, and it doesn't take that long.
     
  27. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member

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    That's my concern. How do you concentrate on the main idea while also concentrating on speed?
     
  28. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    I attack 1 paragraph at a time, if I don't understand at least the gist and purpose of the paragraph (or the very least, the purpose it serves by being a part of the passage, and what kind of info is in that paragraph for future reference), I don't move on, I take another look at it real quick.

    By blitzing through the passage at lightning speed, you allow yourself time to do that, and you allow yourself time to stop for a second or two to gather your thoughts.

    The slower you read, the more you forget as time ellapses. I guess the analogy is watching 1 hour of movie in 1 time. Or watching 10 minutes each day. Obviously in 1 time you'll be able to remember more, and tie in the plot more easily. Same thing with verbal in my opinion. Reading fast allows you to tie in the gaps with ease. But if you read slow, and god forbid you misunderstand the point of the passage, you have no time to do anything about it.
     
  29. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

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    Like I said... their methods don't work for everyone, but they have proven to work for MOST people. I, apparently, am not most people.
     
  30. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker

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    That is laughable. How do you know that? That is what they say in their advertising, but how does anyone know? Did you ever stop to ask a few questions?

    • 1. If they put so much money into research, why haven't their materials changed over the last six years (if not longer)?
      2. With so much money dedicated to research, why are their exam curves off the mark?
      3. What money can you spend on MCAT research?

    I find it absolutely comical when they make a point to say they spend money on MCAT research. They spend research money figuring out how to advertise better to sell pre-meds an over-priced product.

    as for Dario(s)
    Do you honestly think that anyone here believes you? My whole family and all of my neighbors are named Dario and we all share just one computer account. With only sixteen posts, I find it hard to believe a team of writers is at work. Face it, Limit caught you red-handed. But who believes internet mumbo jumbo anyway? Catching someone lying on the internet is like catching a dishonest accountant at Enron.

    If the opinions here matched the real world opinions I have heard, I'd take them more seriously. But I am more convinced than ever that this board is made up of about 20% people trying to sell a course (although it's probably only a few people with many names). Yours is not the first time someone has listed two different MCAT scores for themselves (in different posts) and then promoted a course. I hope we all take the scores people post with a grain of salt. I sure do, after someone who found the fountain of MCAT insight and went from a 26 to a 34 in one post, had a 36 in another, and then was back to "low 30s" later on. And it was funny how in every post, they promoted one particular course.

    It's a shame, because it takes away from the sincerity of people who believe in particular courses. I know some people here sincerely believe in a course. That is awesome, and every program puts students like that out. If they didn't, they'd be out of business. But it just seems sad that a few would try to promote under the guise of innocence.

    As for me, I strongly believe in a program that I tutored for a few years ago. Their students walk away very happy and with solid scores for the most part. I keep it no secret that I root for them, and have found their program to be the better of the two I worked for. The fact that I am the only one here who ever mentions them makes me realize that they are refraining from having a sales staff posting under the guise of being students.

    I am not indicting the entire posting crew here, as I think most are honest and true. But let's just say it's odd that there are so many similar messages being posted. There is no need to post an MCAT score and a company name in most of your posts.
     
  31. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member

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    Hey guys,

    I used Examkrackers and got a 46 on the MCAT. ;)
     
  32. Dr/\/\om

    Dr/\/\om Senior Member

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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  33. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker

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    LOL

    That's nothing. I read about a 47V who also got whiter teeth, fresher breath, lost twenty pounds in just one week, increased their verility, and learned to speak a foreign language.

    Now that was impressive.
     
  34. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member

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    Mudd... I'm not going to get into it here... because I don't want this to sound like a sales pitch, but there are ways to do research on what test-taking methods work better than others. For instance, does underling passages work better (or more often) than does not-underlining passages. Kaplan does a lot of trials and research on these things.

    I did learn this from a commercial... I learned it as part of my Kaplan instructor training... in which they tell us a lot of things about the company that they don't advertise.
     
  35. chak_de_phatee

    chak_de_phatee Senior Member

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    I have to back up relatively prime on this...............for most people MCAT scores do not depend on the prep course you take but the amount of time you spend studying..............there are always exception but for the majority this is true....................... Kaplan, PR, Berkeley Review or EK............if you put in quality time you will do fine.............by the way I took kaplan and PR and thought kaplan was awesome.
     
  36. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child

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    Oh gosh LMAO... thanks for a good laugh. And the rest of your points are all very valid, albeit debatable.
     
  37.  
  38. confewshz

    confewshz Senior Member

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    LMAO:laugh: :laugh:
     
  39. Tweetie_bird

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    Okay guys,
    enough Kaplan trashing for now. I think we have all discussed this issue with relatively (I use this word loosely) good insight, but I would like those of you trashing a company to not do that over and over again. This kind of "misadvertising" can threaten the existance of SDN and it's simply not worth it. You already made the point...You said it once, we get the picture, move on. Although you may consider this an infringement on free speech, I consider it poor taste and get suspicious if one blatantly disregards the amount of help Kaplan or any other test company has given to others.
    In other words, show's over...move on...enough trashing for now.

    Yours truly,
    Tweetie
     

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