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Kaplan vs. Princeton reviews

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jofrbr76, Apr 24, 2001.

  1. jofrbr76

    jofrbr76 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I realize that this question is probably asked all the time, but with all the people who just took the april mcat, i was wondering, what review programs did you use, which one do you think is better? I also realize it's more important to put the work in, the hours of studying, rather than the program used. but as far as review materials and course content, how do these two stack up? Which do you fresh MCATer's suggest?
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  3. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Chicago suburbs
    That's a really tough call - neither Kaplan nor PR is similar to the real thing. Kaplan seemed to be a little closer as far as question format in PS and BS. Princeton review seemed way too hard at the time, but after this April's bio section, I would almost say that neither PR or Kaplan exam materials prepared me for the real thing. In general, I would go Kaplan if I were to do it again (and I just may have to). Actually, it is likely wise to forego the courses and just get the course materials and study the hell out of them.
  4. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2001
    I concur both classes don't really reflect the MCAT level. It's almost as if AAMC people take Kaplan and TPR and test us on things the two classes happened to omit. In the AAMC Student manual there is a parr that says that AAMC goes great lengths to insure students don't have an advantage over other students that may not afford professional prep courses. I used both Kaplan and TPR material from their courses and although it helped it really didn't help as much as I thought it would. There was no mention of calculating the mean or standard deviaton for a scatterplot which I had as a question this Saturday. There were some other crappy questions that really you couldn't much study for. Contrary to popular belief, the MCAT is more a test of memorization that reasoning skills. Those that have really good memories will excel on this test. The questions are supposedly compiled by different people including med students, and since it's well know that memorization is key in medical school I think they are testing to see who can memorize crap like what color litmus paper to use to check for certain pH, which I also had on my form this past saturday.
  5. Spang

    Spang SDN Angel 10+ Year Member

    I took Kaplan in preparation for this April's MCAT and also bought a full set of TPR books from someone on eBay. If I had to do it over again I would not take the Kaplan course. The best aspect of the course is the full length practice tests, which if you read the thread "I've Been MCAT'd" in this forum, you'll see are nothing like the real thing. Neither are the TPR tests A-D, they're much harder!

    The classroom portion of Kaplan is a waste of time. Dozens of people crammed in a small room listening to some kid who happened to get a 12 last year read from a book. I watched every Kaplan lecture on tape and although I found that review very helpful, I think the TPR's big science review book does a much better job of explaining things. Verbal and writing strategies from either company were definitely helpful but you could get that from the books also.

    Lastly on the practice test you could order the AAMC's tests and administer them yourself. Granted they are for the most part easier than the real thing, but the experience is what you're after.

    That's my .02. I guess if I could rephrase, I would take the class if money were not a factor, but having done it, I think one can easily prepare for the test without it.


    BTW: not that it's germane but the Kaplan people were really nice and helpful in all regards!
  6. fishtolive

    fishtolive Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    I took TPR hyperlearning and did ALL of the homeowork assigned as well as every diag and home diag (cover to cover). I can tell you this, don't waste 1200 bucks on the course unless you benefit from hearing lessons rather than reading them. Otherwise, I thought their materials were great but still, did they help me on last Saturday? We'll see. The only thing that helps is taking tests and doing practice problems that teach you how to think and apply what you know in a pinch. What helped me the most was practicing doing whole sections or passages in ridiculously short amounts of time to stay on point.
  7. I bought both Kaplan and TPR course materials from someone because I thought taking course was useless. However, after taking MCAT last saturday, I realized that it is not only the course that is useless, but also all the prep materials are useless.
    I am trying to come up with a better method of studying for August MCAT (since I voided april MCAT).
    So far, I think the best way to study for MCAT is to gain FULL UNDERSTANDING of every concept using school textbooks. I don't think memorizing tiny details from prep books is effective.

  8. poohbear

    poohbear Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2001
    TPR vs. Kaplan?

    Well, I took Kaplan, only b/c TPR refused to give me a discount even though I'm one of their SAT instructors--damn them!

    However, my advice is this--the classes are most beneficial for the discipline they provide. Taking a $1200 class forces you to study for a minimum number of hours. For someone like me, I needed that set schedule. I needed someone to assign me homework and force 8 hour time slots on Saturday mornings for practice tests. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known to push myself so much. For this reason, I don't think there's much of a difference between TPR and Kaplan. Both will force a large time commitment from their students (which is what I believe you are paying for).

    So, if you have the money, take a class knowing that it's not going to teach you everything, but it will try to prepare you for the format of the test and make you set aside x number of hours for prep and practice tests. If you are disciplined enough on your own, then save the money and study on your own. Very few of my Kaplan teachers knew more science than me, but they sat there and forced me to read those sections and tests along with them. Otherwise, I probably would have gone out with my friends and said "screw MCAT studying tonight." Try to think of TPR and Kaplan as a discipline regime, more so than a science teacher...

    good luck,
  9. pre-hawkdoc

    pre-hawkdoc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Amen to that, poohbear. I took TPR, some of my buddies to Kaplan; no clue who did better, but the programs are more similar than different. The big thing is that they give you a schedule and you can probe the instructors for strategies. My PS/VR instructor was a finance major, so obviously, most of us dwarfed him in sciences. But...he'd taken the MCAT and we hadn't. You're not really paying to learn (if you don't understand most of the stuff you're better off waiting and taking the MCAT later, anyway). So, like poohbear said, if you think you can do it on your own, save the cash--you'll need it later. if there's any doubt, make the investment.
  10. I took TPR and ended up saying "screw studying MCAT tonight" anyway! In a way taking the class made me less motivated to study because in my mind "I already spent 3 hrs studying" (in lecture that is, which is not really studying at all mind you).
  11. star23

    star23 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    I think it just depends on what kind of person you are. I took TPR and although i didn't get a lot out of the classes, it made me study much more than I would have if I had not taken a class. I think the class helped me a lot on the real test.
  12. They are both good for getting people like you to drop $1200 bucks to teach you something you could have learned by studying on you own.

    I don't follow tha drugz, tha drugz follow me
  13. rjhtamu

    rjhtamu Stargazer Royale 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Houston, Tx
    I took Princeton, and I don't regret taking it at all, but I still don't know if the whole class is worth the $1200. Although I really can't complain I guess, I went up 12 points from my first practice to the last.

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