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Help. MCAT Prepping this summer?

Discussion in 'MCAT Study Question Q&A' started by yestomeds, May 12, 2014.

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  1. yestomeds


    May 12, 2014
    Hi, I have a question re: taking a MCAT prep course in order to help me understand the science components of the test.

    I get the impression (but I'm not sure) that people generally suggest you NOT take a prep course.
    I guess I'm considering taking a course because I did a few - but not all - science prerequisites several years ago. Of what I did take, I retained 2% at most (it's been a while). Do you think a prep course might help arts students or those who're a bit older and who've forgotten the contents of their science courses?

    Unfortunately I'll have to be in a summer course (at school) for the same duration as well.

    I've got between: Prep101, Princeton, Kaplan to choose from (I'm up in Canada).

    Anyway, any kinds of thoughts and advice would be appreciated.
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  3. Sammy1024


    Dec 12, 2013
    I took Kaplan and was pretty disappointed by their class. It's like i'm paying you thousands of dollars, and you can't even go through all the material with me? Even 50% of the material would have been nice. They go over some of the major topics very quickly and do everything based off their work book.

    The books you get with them are pretty bad. They don't teach you much about anything. It's like surface information, and I needed a lot more than that.

    I do like some of their online materials but in the end I would not recommend Kaplan.

    PLUS Kaplan course is a full time job. They'll be like ya you have class M/W so between M and W class, read about 200 pages, and do a couple of quizzes and stuff. And i'm like really? You want me to just understand everything about these 200 pages, let along read 200 pages in 2 days?
  4. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer Exhibitor 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2007
    SDN Exhibitor
    Whether or not you should take a prep course and which one is best requires knowing specifics about you. There are some people who benefit greatly from courses and others who waste their time and money. The best thing for you to do is ask each company in your area to sit in on a class (that you randomly select) and see what you think. The quality of a classroom course depends about 95% on the instructors. How well they communicate the material, how helpful their insights are, and how they motivate you all matter. There is no telling which course in your area is the best for you without seeing them in action.

    As for whether you need a course, assess what you are looking for. How much do you need explanation and review of the basics? How much do you need test taking strategies? How much do you need someone around to help you through tough questions? How independent are you when learning? If you like the structure a course can provide, then it's a good call to use one. If you are self-motivated and good at independent learning, then studying on your own is a more time-efficient way to go.

    Good luck in your decision.
  5. yestomeds


    May 12, 2014
    That's really surprising - I thought Kaplan was one of the big ones, and thus quite popular. Were your peers in that class disappointed as well?
    So how did you turn this around? Like how much time did you have after the end of your Kaplan test and your MCAT - did you have to re-teach yourself the stuff?

    Yea I hear the courses are a lot of work. Didn't think it would be that much. Are you basically devoting your time to MCAT prepping then, or are/were you working/in school too?
  6. SuperSneaky24


    Nov 27, 2013
    Personally, I didn't take a prep course, but a few of my friends did. In the end, the message I got from them is the prep course forced them to study and practice. If they self-studied, they would have probably slacked off and not been as efficient. One of the downsides to the prep courses (besides the ridiculously expensive price) was that if you have other summer work to do, you will probably fall behind in class and constantly play catch up. This happened to one of my friends when she took the prep during the school year, and she said it actually hurt her - if she self-studied, she could have altered her study schedule to take into account the extra outside work.

    If you buy the prep materials yourself and self-studied, as long as you have a schedule/plan and stick to it, you'll do fine. So in the end, like other users said, it's up to you. I know it's corny, but only you know yourself the best.

    Oh and my friend took the Kaplan course and said they did a real good job. The instructor was a med student who took the exam a few years ago. I think the quality of the course also depends on the instructor, as they might remember little tricks and tips not included in the Kaplan manual
  7. yestomeds


    May 12, 2014
    Thanks SuperSneaky24. Yes I've heard Kaplan was great. Another few people have said the Princeton review is great. I'm torn - why isn't there more threads or forums or blogs discussing the difference b/w the big companies.

    For those of your friends who DID opt for the course - were they science students?
    Or I guess another way of asking this is - because you opted out of a course, are/were you strong in the sciences (such as the stuff that shows up on the MCAT) then? :rolleyes:

    For me I've saved up the $ for a prep course. I guess my rationale was to have the prep course help me learn the science material. I'm wondering if the prep course is mostly helpful just for the structure… or if people actually go for the instruction/knowledge.
  8. SuperSneaky24


    Nov 27, 2013
    One of my friends was pretty stong in science and the other not as much. Both were biochem majors and both took those Kaplan courses.
    I opted out of a course because I thought as long as I made a schedule and stuck with it, I'd be fine. And I've been fine ever since (I think lol). I've taken all my gen chem, bio, and physics courses already and luckily obtained As in all of them cept 2 bio courses. Still, I feel like as long as you didn't slack off in those courses and tried hard, that knowledge will carry over into MCAT studying regardless of your grade.

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