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Kaplan Instructors (general questions)

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MS04MEDIC, Jun 8, 2001.

  1. MS04MEDIC

    MS04MEDIC Junior Member

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    I am going to enroll in a pre-med Kaplan course in Lubbock, Texas.(Home of Texas Tech Med School) What can I expect from the instructors? Who are they? What is their education? Have they all taken the MCAT? If the instructors have done well on the MCAT whey are they not in medschool? Or are they just waiting for admission? I feel I need the classroom type instruction, maybe a private tutor. Who generally does their private tutoring? Thank You ALL!!!
     
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  3. spacecadet22

    spacecadet22 Senior Member

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    To the ms04med,
    I hate to admit this but alas I'm a Kaplan Instructor. Yes, you can rest assured that your Kaplan instructors have taken the MCAT and you also be sure that they themselves have done well on the exam. To teach any subject, whether its PS,BS, or VR, they need to have scored above the 90% percentile mark which is about a 12 on each section. Also, private tutoring is a great option if and only if you are not good at working on your own. Also, generally speaking instructors are usually either in medical school or in the application process or taking a year off between college and med school (like me). Best of luck to you and if you have any questions...keep posting.
     
  4. abs1

    abs1 Senior Member

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    I too am a Kaplan Instructor, though I teach the DAT and OAT. However, I met many a MCAT teacher through training and they were almost all med students. Youre in good hands. :cool:
     
  5. KatieKat

    KatieKat Member

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    I'm taking the Kaplan course right now, and I'm 50:50 on the teachers.

    My verbal instructor is a great guy whose really experienced and teaches well. So is my bio/general chem guy.

    My physics guy is dead boring and can't answer questions that aren't in his Kaplan teachers manual.

    My organic guy is a guy in my year (third) who makes tons of mistakes and talks to his friends all class. So unprofessional!!!

    I think the good things about Kaplan are the materials and full length practice tests. Don't count on getting amazing instructors!

    Oh ya, and none of the instructors are med students. In order, teacher, grad student, lab technician and premed student. Hope this helps!
     
  6. EMDrMoe

    EMDrMoe Senior Member

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    I'm also a Kaplan instructor, and took the course prior to working for them. Out of 5 teachers, we only had one not-so-good one. The others were at least good, with a couple excellent ones. As far as their backgrounds go, 3 were MS1s, 1 was accepted into an MD program (he's now MS1)and finishing his PhD, one was MD, PhD, PhD (nope, that wasn't a typo), and I'm applying for the fall '02 entering class and working as an athletic trainer. The materials are good, but honestly, the instructors make the class. If they're not giving you what you want (and what you want is STRATEGY info, not facts - you can learn those on your own) ask the instructor lots of questions and/or call the Kaplan center and tell them. You have to put the time in to learn the basic science material, and use the instructors for stuff you don't understand. Really, though, you should practice the materials and tests with Kaplan strategies because that's really what is worth it. (I actually believe this, too, that is why I teach for them. It's hard to succeed on a test like that with "normal homework" techniques.) Hope this helps! Good luck! :)
     
  7. ask698

    ask698 Member

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    Like the previous posters, I am a Kaplan instructor and also a lead teacher with the primary responsibility in the Chicago area for training MCAT teachers. I've also found what the others have said is true. In addition, I've found that the best people to talk to about a prep course are the people who have taken classes in the area where you want to take classes. The reason for this is that there is variation in the strength of the program in part because of the instructors since every Kaplan center has the same materials.

    All Kaplan instructors must take any test for which they teach and score in at least the top ten percentile, with the vast majority in the top 5 percentile. After the score hurdle, your Kaplan teachers should have gone through an audition process to see if they have good presentation skills in addition to being a good test taker. From there, your Kaplan teachers should go through an extensive evaluative training process, from which they could be cut, before they can teach a real class. Your MCAT instructors should be experts in everything that is in the Lesson Books, Review Notes, Topical Tests, etc.; They should know both strategy and content. Of course, that doesn't meant that if you say why is B better than D on #5 in the Kinematic Topical Test they'll be able to answer that question right away. However, they should be able to look at the test and give you a timely answer. As a lead teacher whose primary responsibility is to the students and someone who is not very involved in the business side of Kaplan, I can hold my teachers to these standards. However, other centers do not have a lead teacher and sometimes managers hire teachers more based on need than ability.

    If you were in Chicago, I could confidently say that we have the better package than TPR and great instructors who know both content and strategies. At the centers I cover, we don't tolerate poor teaching. I have even pulled a teacher off a class who was not preparing to teach his class as he was instructed to do and did for training, and gave it to somebody else who was able to prepare appropriately and do a better job. Every single one of our MCAT teachers at the two centers I coordinate already attends or has been accepted to medical school. The main benefit of this is a connection to what the students are going through and confidence building; however, I would hire people who decided they did not want to go to medical school as long as they were a good teacher and could inspire confidence in their students. In addition, I only hire and train teachers who can teach the entire MCAT course. I find this gives better overall instruction, continuity and integration of the components of the MCAT than the discipline specific teaching of TPR. However, I was told that the guy who writes TPR's MCAT course lives in Cleveland or Cincinnati and he teaches there, so TPR does a good job there. Consequently, there is some variation in instruction and you should talk to people who have taken prep course at your school or in your area. As has already been stated instructors can make or break the course, so finding out this information is important. There are standards for your teachers, but unfortunately some centers don't have the personnel to ensure that teachers continue to live up to those standards.

    Let me know if you have any other questions. Hope this helped.

    Tony
     
  8. pete.

    pete. Member

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    On Kaplan.
    You need to understand that there are good instructors out there, just don't plan on getting any. The instructors who have responded to this string are probably all much better than adequate Kaplan instructors, but I can assure you that they would not be the norm in Kansas City. Although two of my instructors were quite good, the rest ranged from average to bad. I won't go into detail, but there were a lot of mistakes and for general chem, I actually had 3 different instructors.
    What you need to take away is this - don't rely on them to teach you anything. Not that many of them can't, it's just that you need to rely on yourself at this point. What you will find at Kaplan is boatloads of practice tests and detailed answers. Use them. They'll be a great benefit. My course also had 4 full length practice sessions - they were also a huge benefit. Learn your pace and use the diagnostic feedback to find your weeknesses.
    I'm a first time responder to any message board (ever) and it was the Kaplan topic that brought me here. I was so disappointed with my Kaplan session that I asked for money back - even after I hit my goal for my mcat scores - my scores had nothing to do with the instructors. It was all me - and the opportunity to use the resources available at Kaplan. If you can, you should try and just get access to the tests and videos - the videos turned out to be much better instructors than many that I had.

    Now I'm rambling... Listen, you just need to work hard, focus and use every resource available. If that means pay $$ for Kaplan, then do it. If I had to, I would probably have paid for the resources alone, but I had a very high expectation of the instructors and they didn't stand up. Best of luck.
     
  9. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator

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    I've had good and bad experiences with Kaplan instructors.

    I think one thing to keep in mind is that just because a student scores in the 90%ile range doesn't mean they can teach. Teaching is a whole different skill to learn and master.... Sometimes, Kaplan centers just hire them because they've gotten high scores in the mcat, at least that's what it seems in the center I did it at....

    Just my two cents....
     
  10. TPRPhoenix

    TPRPhoenix Junior Member

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    I'm NOT a Kaplan instructor and I'm NOT an instructor for TPR, but I just wanted to clarify a few things:

    1) TPR and Kaplan instructors vary from site to site. That's unfortunate, but teaching is a very high turnover business for both of us. I think Kaplan hires more frequently on the basis of a resume, where we place more emphasis on teaching, and I think we prepare our teachers more and Kaplan does do more "out of the book" teaching, BUT that is only based upon the experiences I've had in Houston and Phoenix.

    2) "The guy who writes our course" does NOT live in Cincinnati or Cleveland. Our Hyperlearning course model, which is the national standard for TPR, was originally produced by a group of doctors in San Diego for a separate company called, not surprisingly, Hyperlearning. The materials and course are refined after every MCAT by our staff both in NYC and San Diego. They collect information from teachers who take the MCAT and check the validity of our techniques and materials. Our teachers contribute regularly to course materials and techniques, and frankly, we have no one person responsible for the materials in total, although our R&D director is in charge of the materials updating process.

    3) I'm glad to actually read some comments from GOOD Kaplan instructors. There is an awful lot of bad blood between TPR and Kaplan for no good reason, and I hope that the divide is one that isn't permanent. However, that said, contrary to aforementioned comments, I still think our course model is better than Kaplan's and more productive for students, and I'm pretty sure you can look at Kaplan's score improvements vs. TPR's to compare. :)
     
  11. kltmd

    kltmd Member

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    I definitely agree with Popoy. My best Kaplan instructor was a physics professor from the local community college. (She later told us that she formerly taught at the U.S. Naval Academy. I was impressed!) Although your teachers can be helpful, it's the amount of time you spend studying by yourself, quizzing those Kaplan notecards ("date cards" as our instructor called them!), and how many practice tests you can take and REVIEW. Use the practice tests as learning tools. After the third or fourth one, I realized that I was missing many of the same question topics, so they helped to steer me in the right direction for studying. Side note: sometimes I felt that the Kaplan study notes weren't good enough at explaining an idea. When that happened, the Princeton Review Hyperlearning books came in really handy. (I borrowed them from a friend.) Best wishes! Hope you do well.
     

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