Meridian32

10+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2008
93
90
271
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Attending Physician
Hi everyone,

I'm planning to take the MCAT in early August and am considering taking the Princeton Review MCAT LiveOnline course (taught live by instructors over the Internet). If you have taken this Internet-based course, I'd love to hear about how it went for you, and whether you would recommend it to others. Thanks!

(A little background: I'm a nontraditional student. I want to take an MCAT prep course because although I think I could study on my own for biology and chemistry, my last physics class was 10 years ago, and I think it would be worth the money to make sure I re-learn physics effectively. I would take an in-person TPR course, but the TPR office here in Seattle has told me that because of low enrollments, they are almost certainly going to cancel the in-person courses I would take, so my only option if I want to take a TPR course is online. I'm partial to TPR over Kaplan because I want a more rigorous treatment of the material.)
 

FaLoRe

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2007
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Pre-Medical
Bump!

Has anyone taken this course? How much improvement did you see? Overall, did it adequately prepare you and would you recommend this course?
 

1bo

5+ Year Member
Mar 29, 2010
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1
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Pre-Medical
Has anyone had trouble signing up for this class online?
 

FaLoRe

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2007
24
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Pre-Medical
So... I ended up taking a "risk" and signed up for the course. Originally I was set on studying on my own, but recently changed my mind and signed up for the course.

I had no issues signing up for the class online & I received the hyperlearning books & a headset in the mail several days after I signed up. If you are having problems signing up for the class I suggest you give them a call. I was able to sign up with them over the phone, but opted to do it online instead.

I guess I can give an update to those who are interested in how the class went and if it helped me out. I think as long as I stay 99.9% committed to this thing, then it'll all work out in the long run!
 

stardust44

10+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2008
20
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Pre-Medical
So... I ended up taking a "risk" and signed up for the course. Originally I was set on studying on my own, but recently changed my mind and signed up for the course.

I had no issues signing up for the class online & I received the hyperlearning books & a headset in the mail several days after I signed up. If you are having problems signing up for the class I suggest you give them a call. I was able to sign up with them over the phone, but opted to do it online instead.

I guess I can give an update to those who are interested in how the class went and if it helped me out. I think as long as I stay 99.9% committed to this thing, then it'll all work out in the long run!
Did the live online format work for you so far? I may have to go this route, so I'd appreciate any feedback! Thanks and good luck to you!
 

DougTPR

TPR Brand Ambassador
Aug 9, 2010
106
0
0
Austin, TX
Status
Non-Student
I actually teach GChem, OChem, and Physics for the LiveOnline classes. We see similar results from our LiveOnline classes as compared to our HyperLearning classes. Online classes are definitely less forgiving than real life classes however. You need to be very committed to participating in class or things can get confusing very quickly.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions I can answer about any of our classes :)
 

Meridian32

10+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2008
93
90
271
Status
Attending Physician
I ended up taking the plunge on a Princeton Review MCAT LiveOnline course back in April. I took the MCAT in August and would like to share my experiences here.

First, I'll share what I liked about the course.

1) The MCAT LiveOnline course is completely identical in content to TPR's classroom courses, plus is a few hundred dollars cheaper.

2) Perhaps to try to compensate for the online format, the TPR LiveOnline instructors seem to be the "cream of the crop" - all of my instructors had been teaching for TPR for several years. Some had attained TPR's highest instructor rank, indicating that they had received very favorable reviews from colleagues and students. One of the other LiveOnline bio instructors (not mine) was the woman in charge of all of TPR's MCAT science content - I don't think you can get any more expert than that!

Note: This didn't mean that all my classes were great. See below for details.

3) I thought TPR's set of MCAT books was fantastic. Their philosophy is to go into "110% detail" - slightly more detail than you need on the MCAT, but you understand the material better as a result. This may not work for everyone, but it worked well for me because that is the sort of learner I am. My shakiest subject was physics, because I am a nontraditional student and the last physics class I had taken was 10+ years ago. Fortunately, TPR's review books were comprehensive, very clearly written, and taught me all I needed to know about physics (and the other subjects). I loved their Science Workbook, a huge, several-hundred-page volume with thousands of practice questions and passages on every conceivable MCAT topic. I worked through (almost) the whole book during the course and it was great preparation for the real thing.

For me personally, the TPR books worked much better than Examkrackers. I found that EK was too concise for my liking and often spent too little time discussing what seemed like important points. The TPR books certainly didn't have that problem.

4) If you do LiveOnline, you get a set of online resources that I found very helpful. They include access to all AAMC MCAT exams, a ton of TPR practice drills, plus (most importantly) recordings of all the classes delivered by their best teachers. I think you get access to the practice drills and exams if you take one of their classroom courses, but I'm not sure about the class recordings.

Next, what I disliked.

1) The online format is very different from a real classroom and is challenging for instructors to adapt to. As a result, my experience was hit and miss. The main issue is that there is a lot of "lag" between when the instructor asks a question and when someone answers. Typically, it would go something like this: Instructor types in a question. Several (5-10) seconds later, a student types an answer, if there is a student who knows the answer. Otherwise, 15-20+ seconds go by without anyone responding. Then, another 5-10 seconds later, instructor responds... and so on. Contrast this to what happens in a real classroom, where the instructor can ask a question and immediately get a response, or determine that no one knows the answer.

This may seem like a minor issue, but it is not. The reason is that many of TPR's best instructors understandably like to keep their classes very interactive. When teaching in real classrooms, they ask a ton of questions in class in order to keep students active and engaged. This method of teaching translates poorly to LiveOnline, because the "lag" is so much greater online than in a real classroom. In the example I outlined above, if the instructor asks a question every minute (which is realistic), there is 30 seconds of "dead time" where nothing is happening for each minute of class time! This made some classes go by very slowly.

I found that some instructors understood this problem and adjusted accordingly by asking fewer questions in class, but not all. Thus, my experience was really hit and miss depending on the instructor. I had a fantastic general/organic chemistry instructor who was very clear and knew not to ask too many questions in class. Unfortunately, my other instructors were not as great. Two of them asked a ton of questions in class, which I am sure makes real classes more compelling, but made online classes very slow. I compensated by tuning out in some parts of class and doing practice problems or reading ahead instead, or simply skipping class when I felt like I already had a good understanding of the material.

2) The LiveOnline classroom is not much like a real classroom. There is no video. There is audio, for both instructors and students, but in practice only instructors use the audio - students pretty much exclusively use the text chat function. I used audio at first, but eventually reverted to text chat because it was easier and faster. This means that in each class, the instructor is the only person who speaks. Everyone else communicates via text chat. This takes some getting used to for both instructors and students. I found that communicating via text chat was fine - the main downside was the "lag" because everyone has to type in their comments instead of just speaking (see above).

3) TPR's verbal strategy simply did not work for me. They encourage you to rank verbal passages as "easy," "challenging" and "killer," then recommend that you save the "killer" ones for last and don't focus too much on them. This may work for some people, but it did not work for me at all because my target verbal score required doing well on all of the passages, not just the easier ones. I didn't like the fact that TPR was recommending I consider "giving up" on some of the passages because they appeared to be harder. Also, TPR has an elaborate system where they categorize the questions into 10+ categories and give you tips on how to approach each one. I thought this was gimmicky and didn't feel like it was useful for me. This contributed to my decision, after the third or fourth verbal class, to skip the rest of the verbal classes (and I still did well on the verbal).

In the end, I felt like the most useful verbal advice I got came from Examkrackers: strong focus and great pacing are key. I think these two tips were more helpful than anything else I picked up from TPR verbal material.

Conclusions.

I felt like TPR prepared me very well for the MCAT. I scored in the 39-42 range on seven AAMC practice MCATs, and got a 38S on the real thing (14 PS, 12 VR, 12 BS).

However, I also feel like most of my useful preparation came from the excellent TPR review books, not from the LiveOnline classroom sessions, due to the issues above. Also, in the end, I realized that I didn't really need classroom instruction, even though I originally thought I would for physics. I think I could have scored nearly, or equally, as well if I had just used the TPR books and paid for AAMC practice exams a la carte, instead of taking the TPR course.

In conclusion - was my $1500 well spent? I got a 38S on the MCAT, which is a good score and within my target range, so I feel like it was. But would I do it again? Maybe not. For people who find classroom instruction essential, I think LiveOnline is certainly worth considering. But for me personally, I would give a lot of thought to just buying an unused set of TPR MCAT books on eBay, instead of spending much more money on the full class.
 
Last edited:

DougTPR

TPR Brand Ambassador
Aug 9, 2010
106
0
0
Austin, TX
Status
Non-Student
Thank you for your well stated comments Meridian!

I am going to pass this along to our online coordinator and we will discuss your thoughts. We want to make our LiveOnline classes as useful to our students as possible.
 
Oct 27, 2011
200
2
41
Status
Pre-Medical
When I first signed up for the Live Online class I searched these forums to try and find some useful reviews and there wasn't too much to say so I will list my thoughts for whoever is curious..

1) the layout of the classroom is not like a typical classroom and there is no video feed to a professor in front of a whiteboard. Instead they use slides which actually isn't too bad but you could always notice some problems when the teachers were having to draw bio/ochem diagrams via computer.

2) I purchased this because I felt like I needed to have a regular study schedule, almost like someone was forcing me to study. As I found out quickly, skimming the chapter and attending the lesson is NOT enough. Expect to spend an additional hour before/after each lesson to review concepts or you will not remember them properly.

3) Although all of the teachers were great at teaching, I don't think live instruction is very helpful. Some parts progress way to slow and some of the biology sections actually left me more confused than when I came into it. Then again, that could just be my way of studying, I learn better flipping freely through the chapters and routinely going back to re quiz myself... overall the best person to help you study is YOURSELF, you are in college and you know what you have to focus on.

3) the books are AWESOME as is the study package in general! I wish there was just an option to buy the books and all of the online content without the classes

RELATION to study materials in helping on the ACTUAL MCAT:
Not too much actually, but its the best we can hope for. Try your hardest to memorize 95% of facts and figures, get tested on 15% of them...

FINAL THOUGHTS
The classes were not helping me to study (which was the reason I signed up in the first place) and I stopped going about half way through. Some people may like it, but there were just too many slow moving sections for me, too much time taken up drawing the diagrams in the crappy computer drawing way... I wish they would have just used clear images that textbooks use... The online content was amazing though and I used that every single day.

MY RESULTS
I am, self admitting, terrible at standardized tests. I just really hate the MCAT, I understand the purpose completely but it just sucks that it is weighed so heavily in admissions..That being said I am not stupid.. I am in the top 10% of all of my science classes and have a 3.81 GPA .
My average before starting= 24
My average 1/4 through the course= 25
My average when I stopped going and focused on reading the book nonstop= 27-31

Actual= 28
I considered studying up and retaking it but I think that will be a waste of time. I personally would rather use that time volunteering at clinics and working with doctors.. hopefully some schools see it from that standpoint too.
 

UTsksk

10+ Year Member
Oct 24, 2008
599
212
281
Texas
Status
Medical Student
When I first signed up for the Live Online class I searched these forums to try and find some useful reviews and there wasn't too much to say so I will list my thoughts for whoever is curious..

1) the layout of the classroom is not like a typical classroom and there is no video feed to a professor in front of a whiteboard. Instead they use slides which actually isn't too bad but you could always notice some problems when the teachers were having to draw bio/ochem diagrams via computer.

2) I purchased this because I felt like I needed to have a regular study schedule, almost like someone was forcing me to study. As I found out quickly, skimming the chapter and attending the lesson is NOT enough. Expect to spend an additional hour before/after each lesson to review concepts or you will not remember them properly.

3) Although all of the teachers were great at teaching, I don't think live instruction is very helpful. Some parts progress way to slow and some of the biology sections actually left me more confused than when I came into it. Then again, that could just be my way of studying, I learn better flipping freely through the chapters and routinely going back to re quiz myself... overall the best person to help you study is YOURSELF, you are in college and you know what you have to focus on.

3) the books are AWESOME as is the study package in general! I wish there was just an option to buy the books and all of the online content without the classes

RELATION to study materials in helping on the ACTUAL MCAT:
Not too much actually, but its the best we can hope for. Try your hardest to memorize 95% of facts and figures, get tested on 15% of them...

FINAL THOUGHTS
The classes were not helping me to study (which was the reason I signed up in the first place) and I stopped going about half way through. Some people may like it, but there were just too many slow moving sections for me, too much time taken up drawing the diagrams in the crappy computer drawing way... I wish they would have just used clear images that textbooks use... The online content was amazing though and I used that every single day.

MY RESULTS
I am, self admitting, terrible at standardized tests. I just really hate the MCAT, I understand the purpose completely but it just sucks that it is weighed so heavily in admissions..That being said I am not stupid.. I am in the top 10% of all of my science classes and have a 3.81 GPA .
My average before starting= 24
My average 1/4 through the course= 25
My average when I stopped going and focused on reading the book nonstop= 27-31

Actual= 28
I considered studying up and retaking it but I think that will be a waste of time. I personally would rather use that time volunteering at clinics and working with doctors.. hopefully some schools see it from that standpoint too.
I hope I have a better situation as this since I'm in the class for the same reasons that you were...structure.
 
Feb 20, 2014
2
0
1
Toronto
I have a question in regards to the books written by TPR.

Has there been any major or important changes for the Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook between 2011 and 2012?
 

Major

MS-II
5+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2013
926
913
131
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Medical Student
Bumping this to see if anyone has taken the PR mcat online course lately since originally this was asked 4 years ago
 

Major

MS-II
5+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2013
926
913
131
Status
Medical Student
Anyone?
 
Apr 5, 2015
135
52
71
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey MajorUnderDog,
I took an online TPR course from August-December of last year. In one sentence: AVOID TPR ONLINE COURSES LIKE THE PLAGUE. The material is fine, I have no qualms there. But what you're really paying for is their online classroom sessions right? There teachers are legit, HOWEVER, the online classroom platform they use (hosted by BlackBoard) is TURRRIBLE. There were consistent crashes and technical errors precluding students/teachers from joining or staying in the online classroom. Until they start using a different / more reliable online classroom platform, the course is a HUGE waste of money. Take a class in person or just use the books and study on your own. Please don't make the mistake of going through the frustration and agony that I did. I attempted to get part of the class refunded but TPR wouldn't budge. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. Feel free to message me with anymore questions.
Hi jabroni,
Did you take an actual class in person before and if so, how was your experience? Also have you ever tried TPR course of just online recorded lectures, not live feed? Thanks for your input!
 

QuentinT88

5+ Year Member
Sep 12, 2013
457
214
131
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Has anyone else had experience with taking TPR online courses for the MCAT? Any advice?
 

vstexas09

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 3, 2008
146
2
141
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey MajorUnderDog,
I took an online TPR course from August-December of last year. In one sentence: AVOID TPR ONLINE COURSES LIKE THE PLAGUE. The material is fine, I have no qualms there. But what you're really paying for is their online classroom sessions right? There teachers are legit, HOWEVER, the online classroom platform they use (hosted by BlackBoard) is TURRRIBLE. There were consistent crashes and technical errors precluding students/teachers from joining or staying in the online classroom. Until they start using a different / more reliable online classroom platform, the course is a HUGE waste of money. Take a class in person or just use the books and study on your own. Please don't make the mistake of going through the frustration and agony that I did. I attempted to get part of the class refunded but TPR wouldn't budge. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. Feel free to message me with anymore questions.
I'm taking it now, and BB hasn't been a problem. I think it's the best platform to conduct the class. You just have to have a reliable internet connection, and if you get cut off, don't fret; the lectures are posted in its entirety after.

It's a good investment IMO.
 

Dreamstoo

7+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2011
2,526
714
181
Status
Medical Student
Has anyone else had experience with taking TPR online courses for the MCAT? Any advice?
I took the In person type of TPR class that was about 12 hrs a week in person but I know someone who took an extended Live Online class when he was studying for the MCAT when it was the old one. I'm not sure how many hours he studied per day or how he did it but after 5-6 months, he took the MCAT and got a 33 which was his target score.
 

QuentinT88

5+ Year Member
Sep 12, 2013
457
214
131
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Thanks for the input guys.

@vstexas09 how long is your online class last for? And how long have you been preparing for the MCAT?

For me, I will be done with Biochemistry on July 31st. The online course runs from 8/03 - 8/26, and I will be shooting for the 9/23 MCAT date
 

nomdeplume1234

2+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2015
270
131
81
Aurora, CO
Status
Pre-Medical
I wonder if there is any research on in-person vs online learning outcomes. A professor once said students did better in person but I never looked it up. The prices are pretty similar. Maybe in-person is the way to go.
 
May 21, 2018
1
0
51
Status
Pre-Medical
Has anyone else had experience with taking TPR online courses for the MCAT? Any advice?
I took the Online course last year (2017) in the Fall & suggest only signing up for it if you are 100% sure TPR is the best for you and will commit the hours. I tried to take the course during a full load of classes and it just didn't work! Also, the lectures are straight from the book (so I got easily bored at material I already know) so suggest just self-studying with the books if you prefer that. In terms of online courses if you'd like a online teacher setting, I'd recommend Next Step which is much cheaper & their practice exams are the most similar to AAMC as well. It's important to realize while courses are helpful, each student is unique in terms of where they stand & what they know so tailoring a schedule based off of your strengths/weaknesses really helps.