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Feb 1, 2004
arlington, tx
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ladies and gents,

despite months, and i mean months, of mcat prep i still feel lost when it comes to the organic chem part of BS. i have taken every mcat practice test that kaplan and princeton have available but just can't put it together. i have heard that these two prep courses intentionally make the material harder to get you to purchase their services. is this true? and i better off just buying amcas' four on-line practice test that are available and praticing on more realistic material. or are they all just as hard?


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Feb 22, 2004
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  1. Attending Physician
I took Kaplan MCAT prep, and I also tried out the sample full-length exam offered by AAMC. (I'm not sure if they still do that, it was when they just started offering the practice online.)

Kaplan is a bit harder than the real thing in some places, but I wouldn't say it is to make you buy their services. Instead, the idea is that they err on the side of "too hard" so when you take the actual exam it will seem easy.

The one sample AAMC exam I took was terribly easy compared to Kaplan, and I was surprised on test day, because it was also easier than the real exam.

I have a low opinion of Princeton Review, primarily because of the blatant way they copy questions from the actual exam ("the tap report".) One friend of mine who took PR last year told me he was shown copies of the tap report, and the AAMC filed a lawsuit against PR last July because of this. None of the Kaplan instructors ever hinted that they engaged in tapping, and the AAMC has publicly stated that they think Kaplan is clean.

The big strength of Kaplan over PR is the massive test library they have. The problem is that Kaplan hasn't gotten around to updating some of their earlier exams to match format changes, particularly last year's content reemphasis and the section rearrangement a few years ago. The new stuff is great prep for the real test, however.

All of this is subject to change, of course. I took Kaplan from August to April 2003, for the April 2003 MCAT. Things have probably changed since then.

A better question for you is, what gives you trouble? Reactions? Lab questions? Structure? You should work to identify your weakness and drill the heck out of it. The real advantage in prep classes is not the class, it's the sample material. Also, take some time to review some overview notes of orgo from the top - it could be that there's a basic concept you have misunderstood that can make life easier.

That said, I think that if you need more preparation, the AAMC tests might help. In the long run, the cost of those sample tests is very small compared to your overall medical education. (I know, people say that about every sub-$500 cost associated with medical school, but in this case I think it's valid.)


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Jul 21, 2003
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on a side just for your clarification, its aamc. mcat and amcas (the application service) are part of AAMC.

i dont know about the prep courses, but i recommend that everyone buys the aamc tests bcz those are the most representative.

when r u taking the mcat?
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