SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

Kaplan vs Examcrackers vs Princeton Review

Discussion in 'Kaplan MCAT Forum (Sponsored)' started by tco, May 10, 2008.

  1. tco

    tco 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    I'm buying some more test prep materials for this summer. I'm planning on taking it on the July 18th test date.

    By the time summer rolls around, I will have taken all of the required classes for the MCAT and for admissions to medical school. I've also completed a few upper level bio classes as I'll be a Senior in the fall.

    I took a practice MCAT through Kaplan a month ago or so and scored a 27. Physical sciences was by far my worst section (7) followed closely by verbal (8). Much of the material in the PHYSCI section looked very familiar, I just couldn't remember exactly what I needed to do.

    I'm currently not studying for the MCAT, I was busy with classes and such, and now I'm finishing up assignments and am preparing for finals.

    Now that you have my background information, I'll get to the question. I'm currently looking at working hard on physics, general chemistry, verbal, writing, and A+P. I'll also try to keep my mind up on bio and o-chem, but that is by far my strongest section. What all should I buy?

    I currently have a comprehensive review from 2005-2006 from Kaplan. I also have a Schaums for Physics. A friend of mine is going to give me the newest Kaplan comp review. I was looking at buying some or all of the following: "MCAT Workout" by the Princeton Review, Examcrackers complete study package (is it the same material as Kaplan???), The MCAT Physics Book, Examcrackers Verbal Reasoning and Mathematical Techniques, Examcrackers 1001 Questions in MCAT Chemistry, Examcrackers 101 Passages in Verbal Reasoning, and Schaum's A+P.

    Has anyone used any of these books? Should I be looking at other series' as well? Thank you for any help.
  2. jyw003

    jyw003 just moving along.....PharmD, BCPS, BCPP, APP 10+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    San Francisco
    i am using the kaplan series from the class and those seem to review material well. i am also using EK audio osmosis....those actually get you in a better mind set for the test. My test date is june 13th so iam just reviewing some final things and i will be purchasing the practice test from actualy publishers of MCAT soon. Its like 35 bucks per test, but from what ive heard, its useful...because they are real mcat test from the past.
  3. Premed Worrier

    Premed Worrier 5+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2008
    North Carolina
    i have the examkrackers complete study package, 1001 q's in chemistry and physics, and 101 passages...i really like the verbal reasoning...i don't know yet how much the others help except to reiterate the topic at hand over and over and over and over and get the point...ummm the complete study package is very basic and to the point...i am relatively comfortable with physics and chemistry and sometimes after reading those i need to bust out my textbook to clarify things, but overall i would say get the complete study package and the 101 passages for sure...

    also just so you know the Examkrackers Verbal Reasoning and Mathematical Techniques comes with the complete study package (don't buy separately)
  4. MinDsnatch

    MinDsnatch 2+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2006
  5. MinDsnatch

    MinDsnatch 2+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2006
  6. mavessie


    May 28, 2008
    So Cal
    From my experience, Kaplan CBTs have a better curve than AAMC (emcat). I just took the MCAT yesterday and it kicked me in the face. It was soooo hard!! :( The whole time I was like, wtf? Try practicing with AAMC's exams since they are similar to the real thing. I also heard EKs 101 passages are very helpful for the verbal section. I'm assuming that I didn't do well on my first MCAT and I am planning to study to take it again this July or August.
  7. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar* 10+ Year Member

    Jul 29, 2007
    THANK you!! I almost made this mistake just today.
  8. UTdoctor


    Jun 3, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    I am currently doing the online Kaplan course and I think it's almost a WAIST of time. I've heard this from a few people and since I only have one month to study (while working full-time) I'm going to start doing the Examkrackers deal. I've heard by many that it better prepares you. Kaplan just wasn't producing results for me.
  9. greg1184

    greg1184 10+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2006
    Definitely not a waste of time for me. 2 years ago I took the MCAT and got a 26. I used EK last year. Partly, it was because of inadequate studying but also because the 30 min practice exams on the back took away my confidence. Last year, I took 2 months to study for the MCAT in the summer, so I took a 3 times a week Kaplan course that barely fit my timeframe. I followed the syllabus to the teeth, and in fact got ahead of the syllabus in order to do practice exams. Kaplan gave me more practice material than I would ever need. I did almost all of the topical tests as they were assigned in the syllabus as homework right after each class. I did 9 of the 11 full length exams along with a few of the section tests they provide. I did 7 of the AAMC exams that came with the course. I simply liked how Kaplan's review notes were organized for the science better than EK. I also preferred the simple diagrams over "color." For verbal, however, I used EK's verbal and verbal passages. I wouldn't use anything else. I ended up with a 32 on my retake.
  10. mcatisthedevil


    Jun 4, 2008
    Has anyone else noticed that their kaplan practice test scores are way higher than their aamc practice test scores? Has anyone received their actual mcat scores back that can tell me if either of these test accurately predicted their score???? I take the test August 5th and I am starting to freak out because my scores are so different~!!! Please help
  11. futuredoctor10

    futuredoctor10 10+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    Wow greg1184, congrats on the retake and score improvement.

    I agree with you- I prefer Kaplan's review notes to EK's. EK notes were too brief and in Physics, for example, lacked some context to explaining the equation and why you use it.

    I have not fully read EK, but I did look at some of their Bio, 1 chapter of Physics, and all of the GenChem book.
  12. howdy im veeee

    howdy im veeee

    Sep 7, 2008
    Kaplan MCAT 2008-2009 Premier Program vs. Examkrackers MCAT Complete Proram. Which one would you choose and why? I heard nothing but great things about examkrackers- but I don't wanna shell out two hundred bucks for each book.
  13. capn jazz

    capn jazz 7+ Year Member

    Aug 29, 2006
    EK. Definitely EK.
  14. garyinthehouse

    garyinthehouse --- 7+ Year Member

    Mar 29, 2008
    for sure EK all the way.

    I'd bet $300 on it if were a fight ... oh wait...I did!! :D
  15. Chocolate Bear

    Chocolate Bear Moderizzle Fo'Shizzle! Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    EK gets to the point. If you have taken and did well in the pre-reqs, go EK.
  16. futuredoctor10

    futuredoctor10 10+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    I am not familiar with all the materials offered in the Examkrackers MCAT Complete Program. According to EK's website it says "It includes four 2-hour classes each week and 5 full length simulated CBT MCATS" - are there additional materials?

    I personally would also recommend that you consider Kaplan. Again I haven't taken both to compare EK and Kaplan's course options, but I can tell you about Kaplan.

    In my opinion Kaplan has decent content review (great for PS, decent for BS) and EXCELLENT practice materials. There are thousands of practice questions (topical tests, 7 BS section tests + 7 PS section tests, 13 VR section tests, 11 full length exams, subject tests) - all in CBT format. Additionally there are flashcards, quicksheets, etc. In sum- just massive amounts of resources!

    Also, the AAMC exams 3-10 come with the Kaplan course and are included in that cost. Just something to also consider- if not included in the EK Study Package, if you want the AAMC exams that will cost an additional $280 ($35 each x 8). [I believe EK and Kaplan's course run around the same price.]
  17. V1SHAL


    Sep 11, 2008
    First a disclaimer – I taught Kaplan MCAT courses for a year and the Examkrackers courses for another year, but I'm not currently affiliated with any test prep companies. I took the MCAT back in 2003, so maybe some of the things I'm going to say aren't true anymore, although I did my best to look things up.

    I would recommend taking a class for the MCAT. The classes are expensive, but most premeds end up taking a class and they are a good investment. Of course it is possible to study on your own by buying question books and review materials, but classroom courses usually get you access to more and better practice materials, and the classes really help you focus on what to study and help you pace yourself.

    If you want to study on your own:

    If you don't take a class, I would recommend buying some good review books. From my experience, Examkrackers makes really concise and helpful review books for all the subjects, and unlike Kaplan, their course prep books can actually be purchased without getting the full classroom course. The Kaplan ones are just a little painful to read sometimes, while the Examkrackers ones get to the point and have color and diagrams.

    Next you need a source of questions – you need to do practice questions regularly and try to do as many full-length exams as possible. For practice questions, Kaplan has some good review books, but I prefer the Examkrackers books – I think they're more representative of the actual exams. They have a series called "101 Verbal Passages", "101 Biology passages", and so on. The titles are pretty self-explanatory.
    You need to do full length exams, and as many of them as possible. The advantage of taking a class is that you get proctored realistic exams on a regular basis. However, you can also get access to full-length exams on your own. The American Association of Medical Colleges makes 8 previous MCAT exams available online. You can take these in either printed form or as a computerized exam. One of them is available for free, and the remainder cost $35 each (but you get to use them for a year).

    If you take a class:

    So of course the next logical question is which class to take. I can tell you about Kaplan and Examkrackers – I took the Kaplan course to study on my own, and later taught for both companies. I have no experience with Princeton Review, so if you're interested in their offerings, you'll have to do some research

    They have been around for longer, and so they have accumulated more practice materials. Their strength is the wealth of practice tests – subject tests and full length questions. Kaplan has something like 11 of their own full length exams, and you do 5 of those as proctored exams as part of the course. They also give you access to all the AAMC old MCAT exams that I mentioned above. So altogether, you have almost 20 full length exams, which is more than you could probably actually do without going crazy.
    The downside with Kaplan is that the teaching is often hit or miss. They don't pay very well, so they don't always get the best teachers. They have a very standardized lesson plan, which is both a good and a bad thing – in general it does little to encourage the teachers to work hard. Of course, there are some great teachers out there, and Kaplan gives you the option of going to any of their offered classes, so you can jump around. Another thing I disliked is that they have 3-hour class sessions, which makes you want to stab yourself in the eye with the free Kaplan pencil.
    One other major advantage of Kaplan is that they have nice prep centers where you can go for classes, to use their library of materials, and whatever else you do.

    This is a relative newcomer – they weren't even really around when I studied for the exam. Their strength is the teaching. Examkrackers pays their teachers about twice as much as Kaplan, so I think they have an edge in recruiting. Plus a significant part of the teacher salary is linked to student satisfaction, which makes the teachers work harder. The lessons are shorter overall and the material is laid out better. This is great if your knowledge base is lacking and you actually need to learn rather than just review for the exam.
    Examkrackers has plenty of questions in their course books, and you do full-length exams in class using the AAMC released exams. Overall, however, they have less material available to you as part of the course. You can always buy more of the AAMC exams and more questions books, but you should factor that when comparing prices for the two courses.

    Take Kaplan if you have a good knowledge base and are just looking for a lot of practice questions and some basic review. Take Examkrackers if you need to review and re-learn a lot of the material you forgot from your premed classes, but be ready to get some supplementary practice material.

    Good luck
  18. IkerUnzalu

    IkerUnzalu 2+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2008
    If I were you I wouldn't get bogged down with all the calculation problems that they give you. They are time consuming and you reallly should be trying to understand the concepts and how manipulating the formulas affect eachother. I didn't like EK. It didn't prepare me the way kaplan has. Kaplan has provided me with tons of materials and has given me access to a plethora of MCAT exams which I've taken without the tutor mode. I scored b/w 25 to 30. I'm taking the real one tomorrow. Anyway "in a nutshell" you get what you pay for. If you're gonna spend any money spend it on Kaplan. Trust me on this one. All the doctors I've talked to did kaplan and they've all done well.
  19. greg1184

    greg1184 10+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2006
    Kaplan for sciences. EK is far more preoccupied in telling you what is on and not on the MCAT. They spend quite a bit of time on some questionable things (e.g. heat engine) and less time on others. I loved the way Kaplan's review notes were organized, and I preferred their simple diagrams over "color." Kaplan offers a plethora of practice materials such as full lengths, section tests, topical homework tests in mcat format, workshops, and many other things. Practicing is a significant part of doing well on the MCAT, and Kaplan does a fantastic job providing practice for you. The best part is all of their practice material is geared towards the CBT. Best of all, it raised my MCAT score 6 points.

    Examkrackers for verbal. This is where EK shines. Their strategies for verbal are intuitive towards the ambiguous nature of the verbal test. I found myself following their strategies, especially when I was in a rush during my verbal exam on the real MCAT. I got a 10 in verbal both times I took the MCAT, which is a solid score for the verbal. I highly recommend getting the ExamKrackers Verbal strategy book along with their 101 MCAT verbal passages. Avoid Kaplan's passage mapping strategies for the verbal as it is a major waste of time.
  20. tparker02020

    tparker02020 2+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2008
    western NC
    I would recommend Kaplan over examkrackers any day. I studied with Examkrackers the first time I took the MCAT and didn't do as well as I liked so I decided to take an online Kaplan course and Improved my score by 6 pts in about a month and a half.
    Kaplan has a lot more USEFUL materials, The Kaplan books have easy to follow examples and how to solve problems.
    ExamKrackers is more colorful and goes over everything if you have never seen any of the material, but Kaplan just touches on the most important and elaborates.
    Kaplan offers review notes, study sheets, flashcards, full length kaplan and AAMC tests, lessons on demand and great review books.
    Its a lot of money to shell out but well worth it.
  21. ryu2802


    Sep 24, 2008
    Hi guys, I am planning to take MCAT prep course around UCLA area. But, I'm confused which one should I pick ;Kaplan or Princeton? If any of you has ever taken the MCAT prep from one of them, please let me know about your experience. If possible, please let me know which mentor/teacher I should pick. Thank you
  22. Muffinpuff

    Muffinpuff 2+ Year Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    I took PR and now teach for Kaplan and I can tell you hands down that Kaplan is the way to go. I went to literally 5 PR lectures and left. The reason is several: PR teachers don't have to take the MCAT to teach the course. Kaplan's teachers not only gotta take the MCAT but score in the 90th percentile and lucky for you the WW teachers are in the 95th at least. Second, PR scares you as a tactic. Their verbal especially is unrealistically difficult. PR's scheduling is a mess. A lot of PR teachers also suck as in they'll talk to the board. Whereas PR takes a weekend to train their teachers, Kaplan takes up to 2 months. Kaplan teaches you strategies and they also provide you with ample review materials and lots of practice tests. PR is a review only course, as for the strategies, they won't know cause the teachers (many of them) haven't taken it. So I hope this helps and so go Kaplan! :)
  23. fr0dus


    Oct 11, 2008
    ExamKrackers, no questions asked. I took a full Kaplan course and thoroughly used their books - their instructors are hit or miss and their books are riddled with errors. ExamKrackers is very well written and direct, and their 1001/101 questions books are unparalleled. I just got my scores back - I did well on this MCAT not because of anything provided by Kaplan but rather because of the challenging material provided by EK. My advice is to save your $2k on a class and just buy EK books.
  24. TB247


    Sep 3, 2008
  25. EkramVahsedi86

    EkramVahsedi86 2+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Why isn't "both" an advocated option?

    I have background in finance, so if you NPV the value of an extra couple points to your final score, isn't that worth more than the sum of the costs?

    Obviously some people say kaplan, some people say EK. Couldn't both sides be telling the truth? Whichever strategy you use to discern the people giving you a good answer vs a bad answer, is already a fallacious strategy.

    I bought all three and I came here to post that the examkrackers LSAT complete package (yes I'm an over achiever) has spam on the inside cover for AUDIO OSMOSIS ROFL!

    All 3 books have the advertisement: need more time to study? Audio Osmosis on 12 discs for $199

    That's what I came here to post, but its tough to get used to these new high tech flashy websites.
  26. sarahl86

    sarahl86 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2008
    I started out with Kaplan and got a 25. Next year I studied using EK and eMCATS and got a 31. I read through the books and did problems and practice tests till it damn near drove me nuts for both programs but personally I prefer the format of EK and had more success with their 1001/101 Questions books. I think the Kaplan tests were useful but the eMCATS were better in preparing me the second time around.

    Save yourself the money. I think a 6 point increase between the two is proof enough.

    And like someone else posted before, if you want to do both: definitely Exam Krackers for verbal. Their 101 Passages helped me immensely and I got a 12 in Verbal. I didn't find Kaplan strategies very time-effective the second time around so ultimately I didn't use them (and I'm not condoning this for everyone because I think it genuinely helps out some people)...but just doing all those passages from EK will get you in the mindset you need to do well. Passage mapping may get you a decent score, but not an awesome one.
  27. link2swim06

    link2swim06 Physician 10+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2007
    I think if you have the money Kaplan is your best bet [​IMG]
  28. Rapunzeldances

    Rapunzeldances 7+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2008
    I have taken both the kaplan review course and the princeton review course and strongly favor princeton's. Princeton's text helps keep you engaged and the classroom lecture is helpful in focusing your studies. But taking AAMC practice tests is the best way to accurately gauge your score. Kaplan's tests are easier than the real thing and princeton's are harder.
  29. DocDrakeRamoray

    DocDrakeRamoray how u doin? 5+ Year Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    I think Princeton practice tests are the worst ones out there. I could not even read their small font. Go with Kaplan and their material tests etc. and supplement with Princeton books ( not the tests).
  30. cashmoney805

    cashmoney805 2+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    I have Kaplan and EK, and Kaplan has soo much more detail. I'm not sure that's a good thing for the MCAT though.

Share This Page