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Help! Kaplan? Berkeley? Princeton? Examcracker? The Gold Standard?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by FutureCaringMD, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. FutureCaringMD

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    Ok please someone break this down for me. I'm reading so many different reviews, one person says kaplan is great, the next person says it sucks. One person says Berkeley, the next says no way. I'm so confused.

    Who do I go with? Kaplan? Berkeley Review? Princeton? Examcracker? The Gold Standard?

    also is the classroom course worth it? I go to ucla, and i'm a junior, I would have to say 95 percent of the classes I've taken I could teach myself with a textbook and get an A. Going to class is a waste of time for me. Will these courses be the same? I would hate spending 1800 bucks on kaplan, going everyday for 3 hrs, just to listen to a teacher spit out the same info from the books. I rather stay at home and put that time into studying on my own.

    Any advice? How is berkeley review? I'm leaning towards them.

    Also can someone please tell me what cbt, ps, fl, etc all mean?
     
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  3. Marjan Islam

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    It's no ONE source, but the best of each:

    Biology: EK Bio review book and Bio 1001 Questions;

    Verbal: EK Verbal 101 Passages

    Physics: Berkley (has 10 sections, EACH with about 10 passages, pretty badass) or Princeton Review

    Gen. Chem: Berkley (same deal as in physics with the # of passages)

    Organic Chem: Not fully sure, but I think EK content review or Berkley are the best

    I beat SN2ed to it! With the list, haha.

    As for full lengths: obviously AAMC are the best, then comes Kaplan FL's 1-6, and the rest I'm not sure about. But that's about 14 tests, pretty good!

    As for the CLASS, don't bother. For Kaplan, which I took, it was basically just a reiteration of the chapters you read before hand. The MCAT is tough because its passages have material you KNOW, but presented weird. So going over the content IN THE WAY YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH (textbooks, classes, etc.) aren't as helpful as doing practice passages in the way that's new and different (BERKLEY for Physical Science! EK 1001 Bio (has a TON of bio passages) for BIO! Verbal 101 EK!)
     
  4. Malayna

    2+ Year Member

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    Deja vu! I think I typed a very similar message about a month ago. I'm a junior at UCLA too, and had the same thoughts. I asked a few friends who took review courses last summer what they recommended, and it basically was "Kaplan teachers suck but the materials are good", "Princeton has two pretty good teachers", and "Berkeley has a great teacher and the best test strategies."

    A few people here suggested I sit in on lectures before I signed up. I met a Kaplan rep on campus and within ten seconds they were asking me to pay them $1800, so I stopped there. I sat in on a PR and a BR lecture and the BR lecture was amazing. Things I didn't really get in 14B were so well explained and easy the way he taught things. The PR teacher was not very good, but it might have been an off night for him.

    I signed up for the January BR class, but they've been letting me sit in on a few lectures this month. I was skeptical about needing a class too, but Todd is such an incredible teacher that I am so glad I did it.

    As far as books go, I'm pretty anal. I have seen the Boondocks list that Marjan mentioned, but wanted to see for myself. A friend in lab passed me down a set of old EK books and PR books, so I did the first two chapters in EK, PR, and BR before deciding which materials to use. I have to say that Boondocks list is pretty solid.

    Text: EK for biology (the only negative is that there are a bunch of typos, but it's still good), BR for organic chem (great lab technique section), BR for general chemistry (best book by far" as Boondocks says), EK for verbal (concise and good strategies), and BR for physics (great test-taking tips and a solid review)

    Passages: PR and BR for biology (BR has thorough answer explanations), BR for organic chemistry, BR for general chemistry (the passages are so good, you learn test tricks and so many new ways to think about the material), EK/PR/BR for verbal (they all seem about the same and I want variety and lots of practice), and BR for physics (I like their explanations and will probably do some PR questions too).

    Look for the UCLA MCAT course thread and read the comments there too. I was really close to going with PR until I sat for the classes, and I am so glad I did that. Try to sit for a class if you can. At the very least, meet an instructor for each course.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Muffinpuff

    2+ Year Member

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    I took TPR and I definitely think it's the biggest waste of time in the world! Especially that you've said that you need useful classroom time. There was 46 TPR classes, I went to 5. It was that useless. The worst part is, to teach for Princeton, you don't have to take the MCAT, so their teacher are totally unqualified. As for Kaplan, it's definitely a course for people with strong foundations. They teach strategies a lot, but most of the review work you need to do on your own time, but they provide you with all the materials and questions and notes that you need. So if you like independent studying, Kaplan may be the best one and you can take a minimal number of classes. As for their teachers, I have to admit, they're better than what TPR puts in the classroom. They at least have to score in the 90th percentile, and for westwood, they scored in the top for that particular subject. Another thing is EK is the best thing for verbal out there, it really really works. There's no one test prep that works for everything, in my opinion, TPR was so good for physical sciences, but in ochem, it didn't cover everything, for bio, it was waaaayyy too much, in verbal, it missed the MCAT completely. For Kaplan, the physical science is wayyyy too simplified, the ochem good, the bio is the best thing out there. EK, best verbal, but I would only use their book as reference cause the MCAT sciences can NOT be covered within 40pgs.

    For the practice tests, don't believe in any of the scores. If you need to practice, with like a month left to go, DO the AMCAS practice tests. They're the closest thing to the MCAT.

    Gluck with everything! :)
     

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