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real deal: kaplan vs. PR

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by deez4life, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. deez4life

    deez4life School of Hard Knocks
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    I'm in a real bind since i've gotten so many conflicting opinions on whether i should take kaplan or pr mcat prep... is there real truth out there? or am i doomed to be confused on which one to take forever? :eek:
     
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  3. latinfridley

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    i think it really comes down to the individual branches in your area. the teachers vary from branch to branch. so ask around your area to find out. im my case, austin tx, tpr is better than kaplan. it wont do u any good to ask people from other cities and states which course is better than the other, unless they go to your school.
     
  4. BobbyDylanFan

    BobbyDylanFan Senior Member
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    i've heard more good things about tpr than kaplan...mainly because they spend more time in class with you
     
  5. wholly

    wholly Member
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    use examkrackers....
     
  6. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg 1K Member
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    wholly is smoking weed


    kaplan is 1st, above and beyond

    TPR is a DISTANT second. It's not that great.

    Columbia Review (limited classes, from what I hear), 3rd.

    Last and definitely least, examkrackers.


    here's my $.10, my $.02 is free..
     
  7. Camden772

    Camden772 Senior Member
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    Blitz,

    I'm just curious as to why you have such a low opinion of EK. I did not take their course, but I used their books to study for the August 2002 exam and I scored a 36-38 R.

    I took the Kaplan course in 1994 and scored a 26N.

    I think that I worked harder this year than I did in 1994, but I still think that EK materials are just as good as, if not better than, Kaplan's. In addition, I think Kaplan's advice for verbal is not nearly as good as EK's. I would not have scored a 13-15 in verbal if I used Kaplan's advice.

    To the OP:

    I think as long as you work hard and study intelligently you will score well with any of the review companies mentioned by Blitzkrieg. In addition, Berkeley Review seems to be a solid review company. The most important thing is that you put in the work. Make sure you know all the science, and take a number of timed full length practice exams.

    I think that Latinfridley has some good advice, in that you may want to see what the instructors are like for the courses in your area. When it comes to the material you are given, TPR, Kaplan, Columbia Review, Berkeley Review, and EK all seem solid to me. I don't think there is much difference, but I do think that EK has the best advice for verbal. The reason you take a course is for the instructor. So make sure you have a good one. My Kaplan instructor in 1994 was not that good. Considering that TPR and Kaplan are such big, national companies, the instructors will vary a lot. Make sure you will have the best in your area, whether it's a TPR instructor, a Kaplan instructor, an EK instructor, a CR instructor or a BR instructor.

    And remember, you don't have to take a course. I didn't take a course this year, and instead studied on my own with EK materials. As long as you can keep to a strict schedule and stay motivated, a review course is really unnecessary.

    But if you decide you need to take a course, my advice is find the instructor you like best and choose your course accordingly. Also do a search on this site for other threads on which company is best. You can see what other students thought.
     
  8. Camden772

    Camden772 Senior Member
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    Blitzkrieg,

    I know you have said before that you are an instructor for one of the prep companies. Is it Kaplan?
     
  9. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg 1K Member
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    I just speak from personal experience
     
  10. Camden772

    Camden772 Senior Member
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    I'm not sure you answered my question. You speak from "experience," but you didn't say whether you work for Kaplan or not.

    Do you or don't you? I'm just curious. I don't think it invalidates your opinion in any way. I just want to know.
     
  11. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker
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    In a post in a previous thread, Blitz mentioned that he would be teaching for Kaplan. I'm not sure it validates or invalidates his opinion. I do know that anyone who says "TPR is a DISTANT second" has already biased their opinion in my book. If they were such a distant second they'd be out of business. Both courses are strong enough to stay in business but not so superior that they have driven the other one away.

    Camden said it best that all of the materials have something to offer. I taught for TPR for a while and I think they have a great class. I fully agree that it depends on the area. For instance, LA and San Diego were hot spots for them at the time I worked there. In those areas, they were the best course by far. Now, from what I have read here and heard, Berkeley Review is tops in LA and PR is still best in San Diego. It all depends on the teachers. The only thing I would say about PR over Kaplan is that 100 hours of real class beats 48 hours of real class. If you are in New York, it seems like a no-brainer that you should take EK.

    Maybe I'm too cynical, but I have my questions about many opinions at this site. Take wholly for instance. He has admitted that he has never taken examkrackers, but he pontificates with more volume than their sales people. Blitzkreig makes it sound like Kaplan is the greatest thing ever, giving you a better MCAT score, whiter teeth, and making you three inches taller. From what the consensus opinion here sounds, the classes aren't too great, but the practice materials are very helpful.

    As far as which class to choose, the first replies said it all. It depends mostly on the area. As far as materials, each company has good stuff, with some excelling in their specialties. I have been through the materials of the four major companies (PR, Kap, EK, and BR) while tutoring independently.

    • In my opinion Kaplan offers a good overview, but their library of passages is overrated. Granted, I have not seem them all, but the ones I have seen are just average. I think I expected them to been incredible, after all of the hype. Basically, they are about the same as everyone else with a few topics that should be omitted if they ever rewrite their materials. Not to break the news to them, but their subject tests include topics the have not been on the MCAT in years (molecular orbital diagrams comes to mind).

      PR has very good physics text and pretty good biology (except for the typos, although they may have been editted clean by now). The author of their physics text, Steve Leduc, is the best physics teacher I have ever seen. His personality and style don't translate perfectly to text, but it's close. The only issue with their physics books is that the passages have too many math questions to be realistic. Most of their passages are good, but the science sections of their exams are not realistic. Their verbal passages are very good. Their chemistry could use some serious work. I typically suggest to anyone I tutor that happens to be taking PR that they do not use their chemistry materials. There are too many extraneous facts and very few test taking insights.

      BR is another company that overkills the science section of their exams. However, they have great answer explanations that include their rationale on the overkill approach, so it's not so bad. The verbal passages on their exams are some of the best out there. They include passages on topics from prior MCAT exams. BR has the best chemistry by far in terms of both text and passages. Anyone who is worried about chemistry shoud use with their books and don't touch anything else. Their physics is pretty good, but their biology is overkill. I suggest to students I tutor that they use other sources for biology. Their verbal book has a bunch of passages but the text portion is a waste. To be fair, I have heard that their verbal lectures are great, but they won't put their techniques down in writing.

      EK has a very good physics text and their verbal method seems like a good idea for people who trust and use it. It won't work for everyone, but it is the best written material out there. It's a good logical approach without all the fluff other companies add to their approaches. I happen to think their chemistry is average (covers the bare minimum, but doesn't offer the insights that their physics materials offer) and their biology is not as good as Kaplans. (I can already feel the wrath of the upcoming reply from JOrsay :)). The one exam I have seen is pretty good. Their major short coming is that their answer explanations are way too short. Most students learn by doing a passage, grading it, and then reviewing what they missed. Their short answer explanations hinder the reviewing aspect.

    This is just my opinion, but it has been collected over time. In the end, it all comes down to the student, so the course and materials are secondary. If you really believe one course is better for you, then take it no matter what people say, because psychologically you are in a good place.

    Good luck in April everyone.
     
  12. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg 1K Member
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    check my response on other thread
     
  13. latinfridley

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    Ive already posted this same thing earlier...please repeat after me... IT DEPENDS ON THE BRANCH IN YOUR AREA!!!!!!
     
  14. Camden772

    Camden772 Senior Member
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    I don't know if anyone's mentioned this. But it can depend on the area.
     
  15. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker
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    I think it might have been mentioned by someone, but I can't recall.
     
  16. latinfridley

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  17. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    i didn't really like kaplan, if that means anything at all :p
    i didn't take advantage of their library that much (a big mistake i guess), and their classroom hours were a waste of time. if i had to do it again i wouldn't take a class. i'd study using a combination of materials from different companies.
     
  18. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    i see kaplan has having a great library has its main strength.

    TPR has a lot more classroom hours.

    The quality of teaching depends on who they got to teach in your area. if your someone who needs the classroom time then TPR is the way to go. If you dont need the classroom teaching but a place to study and want access to a lot of materials then Kaplan is for you.

    Personally I did Kaplan last year and found the classroom time to be a huge waist of time. They rushed all the material together, and didn't leave anytime for questions or discussion.

    And for me that is what I needed the most.

    I am now taking TPR and enjoying it for the most part.
     
  19. captbadass

    captbadass Senior Member
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    I think y'all have overlooked the fact the it really depends on the branch in your area.

    CAPTBADASS
     
  20. captbadass

    captbadass Senior Member
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    Im going to be taking Kaplan in January. So far I have heard good and bad about it. I think it really just comes down to how hard and effeciently you study. I'm definately not going to blame any test prep company for my score. Kaplan is just going to serve as a base for my studying. All of the hard work and responsibility will be on me. I dont think you can really go wrong with any company as long as you dont totally depend on them to give you a score. BOTTOM LINE: BUST YOUR ASS SO YOU (NOT KAPLAN) CAN DOMINATE THE MCAT.

    CAPTBADASS
     
  21. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    well my gripe with Kaplan was that it was all on me and when I didnt or a friend didn't understand a concept I would have expected to get some help from them and I found it very difficult to get it.

    But in the end its you who has to do all the studying. I did it, I took the tests and then some, I attended every class and all my practice exams went up. I saw myself making progress as the the number of questions I answered were going up and I thought I understood everything.

    When I took the August MCAT I ended up with the same score as I did on my diagnostic test, a 21.

    So when I feel that Kaplan was unable to help I have reason for feeling that way. That their style of teaching and prep was not well suited to what I required. I feel better with TPR even though I do miss the Kaplan library.
     
  22. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S
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    I am also planning to enroll in a prep course next month and having a hard time deciding which one to do. My options are TPR and Kaplan, both offer classes near me that could work in my schedule. I am wondering if anyone can make any recommendations for which course is better in the Portland, OR area. I only know one person who took the Kaplan course here, she did pretty bad on the real thing (23) but admits she didn't study much so I don't think I can judge Kaplan based on her experience. My pre-med advisor says TPR is slightly better, but her advice on other things has not always been reliable so I'm not sure if I should trust her. I took a 3-hour practice MCAT that Kaplan was offering at my school last month and got a 27 without studying (13 V, 6 PS, 8 BS), so clearly I mostly need to review the sciences. Part of me feels that I could do this on my own and save ~$1300, but I also know that I am a huge procrastinator and need structure to organize my studying. TPR advertises on their website that they spent twice as much time on verbal and writing sections, which isn't really a big selling point for me. I guess mainly I want good practice tests and lots of science review, and a course that will help me to organize my studying. Can anyone reccomend which course might be better for me, given those criteria, or are they both pretty much the same?
     
  23. Damian234

    Damian234 Junior Member
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    In general, does Princeton Review provide practice questions and such for individual practice (besides what you already get with the course)? I'll be taking Princeton next semester and was wondering if I could study on site with their materials.

    Thanks
     
  24. WyldCherry

    WyldCherry New Member

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    It doesnt really matter as long as you-as my grandma would put it- "STUDY HARD AND STUDY WELL!!!". I wanted to take an MCAT review course to brush up on my test taking skills. I did lousy on my ACTs and I didn't feel I was diciplined enough to study alone for this test. I had my choice between TPR and kaplan, but I picked Kaplan because it close to my school. Also, there were many kaplan study centers that I could go to if I couldn't make it to a class at my location-I live in chicago. That was a real plus me.

    The best thing about Kaplan is the study center and mock exams. Also, the books and materials they gave me were pretty good. However, I still was not impressed with the classes. The classes were ok. It really depends on the teacher. My teacher was not that good. I was not impressed with his teaching abilities so I switched classes. Nevertheless, my second teacher was better. They teach you test taking strategies and so forth, but it was usually the stuff you can get in most books. For me, class time was a waste of time.

    I scored a 25. I wasn't too happy with my score because I was geting 29-30 on the practice tests. Maybe I freaked out..I don't know. For shelling out $1400, I expected to do better. :mad: Kaplan did help somewhat; however (in my opinion), I wouldn't go through it again. Anyways, for the second time around I decided to go solo. I ened up getting a 32!:clap:

    So how did I study? Well, I went-snucked in :D to all the classes (at my college) that I needed to study for the mcat (Bio, Physics, Gen Chem, and Ochem). It was like taking the classes over again (took the tests over, too--didn't turned them in off course!). Hey, I needed to review. I payed my tuition (well not for those classes...heh heh :rolleyes: :D ) I took a speed reading class at a community college. (Let me tell ya, this helps immensely if you are a slow reader like me!) Also, with my ol' Kaplan books, I studied like crazy. Plus, i made a few sacrifices for a whole year (no more parties, clubs,etc...however still hooked up my playstation for R&R). And how much did I spend for studying for this test...$75 dollars. (For the speed reading class.)

    So, in conclusion, it doesn't really matter if you take review courses (if you have extra money on ya) or not, as long as you STUDY YOUR ASS OFF for this test!!!! Use it as one of your study aids! I guess I depened on Kaplan as my only study source for the mcat. My advice is use everything and anything that could help you. Practice those tests over and over and over again. Go to the MCAT test site and get copies of old test and take them. Cut back on the social scene (parties, clubbing etc) to focus on this freak'n test. Yeah that includes weekends, too! ;) Improve on your reading time. There are tons of books out there to help improve your reading speed as well as comprehention. Also, you can take classes. Also...STUDY STUDY STUDY!!! Well, I hoped that helped.
     
  25. birdie

    birdie Senior Member
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    Wldcherry, are there any books you recommend to improve reading speed? When you attended all those classes, didn't you find a lot of extraneous info. that wasn't relevant to the MCAT? Also, how much time did you put in?
     
  26. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    having taken both kaplan and princeton(currently taking) I think its up to you. Princeton has 3 times as much classroom time as kaplan. I didn't like the kaplan class time. And for me that is important because in my physics classes we dind't spend a lot of time doing waves/radiaton? and didn't touch sound or optics at all. I was very uncomfortable, even when I studied those subjects on my own and the help was not there when I needed it.

    To me the great kaplan library was worthless because I could not understand some of the matierals. When we did it in class I was told we did not have enough time for questions because kaplan was going to kick us out at 9.


    If you just want a place to study and are a good solo studier, kaplan is probably for you. If you want structure, class time and better study materials then princeton. The teaching can very from place to place. I had only 1 competent teacher with kaplan and the other whose class I wanted to attend I could never make because I had class then.
     
  27. WyldCherry

    WyldCherry New Member

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    Hi Birdie

    I'd like to say I set a side two hours a day to study. However, I was taking my major classes (PCHEM HELL...grrr :mad: ) at the time and had a part time job. On the weekends is where I mostly devoted my time for the mcat. I'd say four hours min. 6-7 hours when I decided to do a mock exam from old tests.

    As for the classes that I snuck into, I used the Kaplan books as a study guide to know what info i needed. Hey, I paid a lot of money for it might as well use it. I didn't go every day to each class, (That would be impossible, with my hectic schedual) but I had the sylibus for each class. So basically, I only attened classes where the lecture applies to the MCAT. Especially for OCHEM...(I hated that class :mad: ), and I'd rather have a real OChem prof. explain those chemical reactions to me again than a kaplan/TPC teacher. I had to work my ass to get a "B" :clap: in Ochem (and I'm a biochem major) when I took it. Some profs. eventually figured out that I wasn't in their class, but let me stay anyways. ;)


    As for books...I did go to a speed reading class (i have no i idea how i fit that in my schedual, but i did) , and we didn't have a textbook. Although, it didn't stop me from buying some...

    "Break Through Rapid Reading" by Peter Kump. Good book, but you need to really devote time to it in order to see progress with your reading.

    I also bought a book for the MCAT Verbal section (for some reason the worst section for me). It focuses on speed and reading comprehention. I don't have the book with me now and I can't remember the title (as I recall, it was blue, purple, and had orange words on the cover if that helps!:confused: ), but it was helpful. It had lots of passages to read and was good practice. It's a good book for beginners. ;) (sheesh, I really like these icon thingys!! :love: )
     

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