Kaplan MCAT prep class or no?

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KamG96

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Hi guys,

Ive searched a lot and looked at a lot of review for the Kaplan MCAT prep classes and they go both ways. Some people say they helped a lot and the materials that came with the class were great and others said that the class was a waste of time. I am considering an in person Kaplan MCAT prep course next spring, during the semester at my university.

My question is, what do you think about the review classes that Kaplan has to offer? Especially the in person once. Has anyone taken this in person one and thought that it was beneficial and worth the money? Is there another MCAT prep class that you prefer?

Any feedback is great.

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GCS-15

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I took princeton. Prep classes are great only if you need to review material and need a structured class setting. If you're fine with material, I don't think a prep class with help that much because they don't really go over specific strategies or how to answer mcat based questions. It's all content. Getting the kaplan books, studying yourself, and doing lots of practice tests will be ok too. If you're good with content and are self disciplned, then self studying will be fine.
 

bigindian4891

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I took Kaplan twice, I liked the balance of self teaching and structure. I felt like the books are better for the new exam: more concise, and covers really what we need to know. Of course, the rest depends on you. You can take all the classes you want, but its not worth it if you dont study. I avoided Princeton, I didnt like the schedule, and I felt like their practice tests were on a different level. Kaplan's tests were still hard, but they prepared me well for the content. For reference, I got a 514.
 
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DrMantisTobogganMD

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I took the in class review for 6 weeks and then used their online materials for the next few months. I thought the class was fantastic and my instructor was incredible. I would recommend it to anybody looking to do well. Don't be fooled though, the class is just there as a guide, you have to do the heavy lifting. I improved from a 494 diagnostic to 516 on the actual test.
 
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Akewataru

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I recently took a Princeton Review prep course over the summer through my SMP I thought it was good for material review and learning test taking strategies to reduce how much time you spent per question. Beware though, sometimes the quality of the subject review will only be as good as the teacher teaching it. Four out of the seven teachers I had were excellent teachers. The others just spat the info back at you. The best guy who taught Biochemistry and Biology was switched out mid semester (his expertise were needed at a six week MCAT Summer Immersion where the students pay nearly $10,000) for this passive teacher (who was graduated med school and has not applied for residency yet???) who simply did not motivate the class at all. Definitely use the online materials before class and after class to reinforce what you learned in class that day because they are essentially what the teachers are teaching. Make sure you do the AAMC practice tests which should be part of the package. Make sure to do the diagnostic test within a week of start of the class so you get the guarantee.

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ll16

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I've had the experience of taking both Kaplan and Princeton; Princeton in undergrad (which I had to withdraw from due to some family stuff) and currently Kaplan in post-grad. Overall, a course is really beneficial for people who like accountability and sticking to a schedule (this especially helps if you have a full course load or a full time job).
The classes, however, differ. I found that Princeton heavily focuses on teaching the science you need to know, whereas Kaplan focuses more on useful strategies for test day. They definitely cover both, but the companies tend to put more emphasis on one or the other. Take it with a grain of salt, but I like Kaplan better. I would rather learn more about taking the exam than being taught the actual science, since I was sort of geared to self-teach myself a lot of the material coming into the course. Also, some of my friends relied solely on what we covered in the Princeton class since it was so science-heavy and they figured that it was all they needed (which you should !!NOT!! do), which ended up hurting their scores. I also liked Kaplan's review books and other materials a lot better.
Overall, I found both to be sufficient; it really just depends on what you're looking to get out of a course
With that being said, and amazing tip that I'm glad I followed is to go through all (or most) of the material before you actually start the class. I know that this may be impossible in most cases (especially with those in school) because it means extending your study time by months, but this is helping me SO MUCH now that I'm in the course. By the time you start, you've seen all the material at least once from the subject books, so the class acts a review to reinforce the information while teaching you efficient tactics to build upon your knowledge.
 

TRPMinus

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DO NOT pay the $2,000 for a prep course. I did this for Kaplan and was largely disappointed. Let me say, though, that the Kaplan 7 book set is a gold mine. You gotta get it. It's around $100 I believe. The videos/lessons in the online course are such a waste of time. They communicate only a surface-level understanding of the material and take away time you could actually be studying. If you are concerned about having enough practice tests, rest assured that you can find them cheaper than what Kaplan charges.
 
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DrChef94

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I took Kaplan's classes and while the actual in-person class time didn't help me understand anything better (my issue wasn't with understanding, it was with actually just sitting down and studying), just going to the class twice a week or whatever my schedule was (I took it 3 years ago) helped me a ton with actually sticking to my study schedule.
I really liked the books and how they explained all of the material, and the illustrations helped a lot as I'm a visual learner. Also, the practice tests were super hard in my opinion so when I went to take the actual MCAT it seemed a lot easier for me both time-wise and content-wise. For reference, on the actual MCAT I scored a 35 while on the Kaplan practice tests the highest I got was a 29 (I did 3 other practice ones and got 27, 28, 28 on those).
All in all, I would recommend them.
 

zurc2014

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Take Kaplan....go to medical school...
 

Mclovin0351

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Current Kaplan instructor here. If you're someone who is ok on the content but really struggles with actually taking standardized tests and you also feel you would benefit from a structured class setting for your studying, I believe the class I teach is fantastic. Most of the content gets covered in the pre and post class work which you complete on your own. The majority of the class time is dedicated to test strategy, although we do this all through practicing passages and questions with high-yield science topics. Also, myself and all of the other faculty I know genuinely care about your progress and success on the MCAT.
 
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BYUCougar2011

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I would suggest saving your money and studying on your own. My friend and I both performed similarly in Organic Chemistry, and my friend went with a prep company and I decided to study on my own for the MCAT. He scored a 515 and I was able to score a 522. I am sure we both worked equally hard, but I think the difference comes from being able to control your study and being able to use the best resources. Test prep companies will train you using their resources, which includes very few of the official AAMC practice problems (problems written by the people who wrote the MCAT!). During my study I found test prep companies' practice exams and practice questions to be subpar. I feel like they take you off track more than help you. I would suggest making a study plan that uses various resources (AAMC, Khan, Kaplan, Princeton, ExamKrakers). Variety is your friend.

Also, if you feel like you need more structure/someone to guide you through the study process and help you with challenging questions, I would suggest finding a tutor. Test prep companies will charge you outrageous prices for tutoring. If you search around online, you can find better deals on tutors. It is helpful to tutor with someone that performed well on the exam already and can give you peace of mind about your preparation.

Lastly, I enjoyed studying on my own because I was able to make the plan that worked for me. I was able to study from home and study only as much as I could each week (very helpful since I was still taking classes during my exam prep). Best of luck with your preparation!
 
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