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Princeton or Kaplan?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by CoffeeCat, Jun 18, 2001.

  1. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel
    10+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2001
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    I am not taking the MCAT until next year but I would like to take a poll to see how everyone feels about the Princeton vs Kaplan debate. I've heard that Princeton focuses on knowledge while Kaplan focuses on test taking skills, etc. etc. I would like to choose the right course. What has been your experience with this? Thanks!
  2. mdhopeful

    mdhopeful Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2001
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    Took MCAT twice, took Princeton both times. My feeling about Princeton is that it depends on the teacher you get. First time around had the same teacher for both B and P sections. Second time around I had a sweet Physics instructor who allayed all my fears of that subject - he made the difference in my P score. Another plus about Princeton for me was that the practice tests turned out to be in the exact same room of the actual test, so on test day I was comfortable sitting the in the crammed lecture hall, while everyone around me was squirming and complaining. Good luck.
  3. kltmd

    kltmd Member
    7+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2001
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    I took Kaplan and I am still waiting to receive my scores. The major disadvantage I found with Kaplan was that all of their materials other than the study notes were left in the library. Unfortunately, that library was a good 45 miles from where I lived. So, besides driving 50 minutes to classes twice a week, I also had to drive down there to study. The library hours were inconvenient and inconsistant. So, all of this to say, Kaplan is not a good choice if you are not near their study materials. (This includes the explanations to all of their full length tests, the AAMC practice tests and problems, subject tests, and the video library.) The subject tests were on the internet, but they were less than user-friendly. The classes were fairly good, but like the above post, they depended entirely on the teacher. (Our Physics prof was awesome.) But, either way, if you are willing to put in the hours of studying, you will do fine. I just wish that I could have used my driving time more effectively. Hope that helps you. :)
  4. TPRPhoenix

    TPRPhoenix Junior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2000
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    I work for The Princeton Review here in Phoenix, and obviously, I'm a bit biased. But I do think that TPR vs. Kaplan question is a tough one. I think our teacher training is superior to Kaplan's generally, because we're actually forcing them to be certified by people outside our office, whose judgment and paychecks aren't dependent upon who they certify to teach but are judged by course quality. We call them "master trainers," a phrase that doesn't mean much to the average person but means a lot to us. But obviously, when you're dealing with a high turnover situation like teachers who will likely go to med school themselves or go for a grad degree, there is significant variance.

    I do have 10 questions I'd ask any prep course folks, and I've included our responses.

    1. How many classroom hours are offered?
    TPR: The total classroom prep with TPR's Hyperlearning class model is 102.5 hours which does not include practice exam hours (there are an additional 35 hours there), extra help with our our teachers (typically 50 hours per class), or Verbal Accelerator(another 10 hours). If you miss a class, no problem, you are entitled two free make-ups.
    Our typical course meets four times a week at 2.5-hour intervals.
    2. Who are the teachers?
    TPR: Our course is led by a team of five instructors, each an expert in his/her specific subject. All of our teachers possess exceptional MCAT test-taking skills in addition to superior knowledge in their area of expertise. Moreover, our teachers must score within the top 95th percentile and complete a rigorous 40-50 hour training.
    3. Are your teachers available for extra help?
    TPR: Absolutely! Anytime you need extra help on a subject that you don't understand very well, just attend office hours. You can attend the office hours of any of our MCAT instructors.
    4. What materials will I receive?
    TPR: You will receive the equivalent of 30 MCAT's worth (over 4,000 pages) of practice materials, all with full explanations.
    5. What about materials?
    TPR: We make sure that you have your own library of MCAT materials, so you don't have to worry about checkout lines or books already being loaned--all course materials are yours to take home and keep. And all our tests include full online annotations so that you can study from the in-class exams at home!
    6. How does the program keep up with changes in the MCAT?
    TPR: After every test administration, we develop a MCAT worth of new passages. We also review and update all of our material on a yearly basis to make sure that it is consistent with the ever-changing nature of the MCAT.
    7. How much will my score improve?
    TPR: As verified by ICR, our average improvement from the first diagnostic exam is 8 points which is the highest average reported MCAT score improvement.
    8. Does the program offer a guarantee?
    TPR: Yes, we offer a satisfaction guarantee. If you complete the course in full and don't get the MCAT score you want, we will prepare you for the next administration for free!
    9. How many practice exams are proctored?
    TPR: There are a total of 5 full-length proctored exams. Your 5th exam will be AAMC's official Practice Test V.
    10. How much verbal prep will I receive?
    TPR: Because the verbal section is the one admissions committees generally use to distinguish the applicants from the students, we offer 22.5 hours of verbal instruction along with the 10-hour Verbal Accelerator program.

    So that's our line. If you have other questions, call us at 800-2-REVIEW. We will provide our biased opinions, and if you ask, our fair opinions, too.

    My fair opinion, and one I can state is pretty darn unbiased, as I will be leaving TPR in a week to move for personal reasons: Honestly, I don't think there is a comparison between the courses. If I had the money to spend (as an educator, unfortunately, I don't :( ) I'd get the best prep on the market, and I think TPR's is it. I don't know how the distinction is made between knowledge and test-taking skills on the MCAT, because frankly, any prep course you take should involve both, but I know that if I'm spending a grand on a course it better have all the bells and whistles instead of just bells, and I don't know how you fit both in Kaplan's shorter program. :)

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