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Theory about Kaplan Tests

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by glomerulus, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. glomerulus

    glomerulus Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    I was thinking about this the other night and I'm wondering if there might be any truth to the following theory:

    I've read a lot of posts about how the Kaplan tests are harder than the real thing and about how people improved their scores on the real one in comparison to all the Kaplan tests they had taken previously. It's also true that these tests are scored on a bell distribution that is made based on how everyone who took the test did on it. It seems reasonable to say that the pool of people that take the Kaplan tests is more competetive than the pool of people taking the real MCAT. The Kaplan score distributions are based on those students who took the test in the Kaplan review course, and it seems that the more dedicated students would be those enrolled in these classes. People who care enough to study, take a class, or check out this board every day are on average, above average. I haven't seen any posts by people who are scoring 4's and 5's, but in theory, there should be just as many in this catagory as there are scoring 11's and 12's. The people with these low scores are those who just take it to try it out or get the feel for it without investing much into it, surely not spending $1300 for a Kaplan course.

    So is there any possibility that this could help explain why people's scores tend to be better on the real test? If anyone has any thoughts or knows how this works any better than I do, your input would be greatly appreciated.

    (The other possibility is that just as many people got lower scores on the real thing, but the people who improved are more willing to tell about it.)

    Let me know what you think!
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  3. brownemily22

    brownemily22 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 16, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    that's a good theory.

    another factor to consider is that behind all the marketing, kaplan is a business that thrives on the fact that its students perform better than non-kaplan students. therefore, by making the practice tests harder than the real thing, students are more likely to study harder and subsequently score higher on the mcat. this boosts kaplan's stats and makes them more appealing to future students/customers.
  4. glomerulus

    glomerulus Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    I've heard about people doing better on the real test than on their practice tests, but are there an equal number who did worse on the real test? If this is you, please speak up. How much worse did you do? And are there any specific reasons why you think you did worse? Maybe if enough of these people speak up, the rest of us (specifically me) won't be quite so comfortable with our kaplan test scores, expecting to do better on test day. This might be a good motivator.
  5. AntGod22

    AntGod22 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Ok heres my story,

    Starting studying for the april mcat in january. Took kaplan.
    Started off with a 16 diag. Then as i went from kaplan fulllength 1 to 5 i kept going up by 2 points each time till i got to a 23. I was only studying for about 4 or 5 hours a week for this test besides attending the kaplan lectures. I then took aamc VI and scored a 18. that was 2 days before april 20th. I took the real thing and scored a 6-v,6-P,8-B.
    I am now retaking kaplan and scoring consistently 25 and 26. I just took aamc III and got a 25. I plan on taking aamc 4,5,6 these next few days.Hopefully i can get like a 27-28 on those and maybe add those 2 extra points that occured when i took it in april and i could have a nice round 30. I just want atleast a 24 so I can make NYCOM thru my schools program.
  6. tatabox80

    tatabox80 Super-Duper Member 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2002
    I averaged around 25 for my kaplan scores. Got a 22 on mcat. Verbal was MUCH harder than the kaplan verbal. Nervousness played a role, but overall the passages were harder. Kaplan physics is harder but the curve compensates. I would miss about 10-15 less on an aamc test and receive the same score as I would on a kaplan. Biology is about the same, a little harder in some cases. I remember when I took kaplan I would try to get info from people telling me that they did stupendously on the real mcat incomparison to kaplan tests. If you studied effectively and learned the concepts, practiced enough so you learned how to apply them, and learned how to pace yourself, you should be ok! When I took the class I was experiencing some serious family issues, dad having healthproblems and ended up losing job (very bad). Kinda killed my motivation, and didn't really study that much. I still averaged around 25 on kaplan though. In retrospect I wish I didn't take the class. Going to the center was a little inconvenient at times to do practice items, and many of the classes were useless. I felt like going to class would help me, but for the most part they tired me out and took away from time I could have been studying. Try not to worry though, if things don't go your way you can take the test again! I know people on this board often think this is the kiss of death, but oh well. The second time around I am using a different companies materials and developed my own studying schedule. In only 4 weeks, I have studied more effectively than in the 3 months I was taking the class. Things are always easier the second time around though! This may sound corny but, trying your hardest is the best you can do and if you really did this, you'll be ok. If you made it this far in your college career as a premed you're obviously intelligent enough to do well on the mcat. Sorry about rambling too much!
  7. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker 7+ Year Member

    Jun 5, 2002
    relocated again
    The problem I have with this theory is that you have left out a large group of people who take courses other than Kaplan (PR, BR, and EK). If what you say is true, then Kaplan must be a more effective program. It also assumes that people who do not take courses tend to score lower. I would tend to say that the pool of people not taking a course is not limited to people who don't care as much. I would say it also includes people who are very confident and don't think a course will help them (most of these people I'm sure do great) and people who cannot afford a course (and may very well work even harder than their more afluent fellow pre-meds).

    I for one think the Kaplan model of teaching (using the term loosely) is not as effective as that of EK, PR, or BR. Kaplan offers the least classroom hours. And as a general rule, they have the least expereinced/qualified teachers (they have undergraduates and a high turnover rate at the locations I have seen). Consequently, I would argue that a full statistical analysis would likely show the average Kaplan student being slightly lower than the national average. Considering Kaplan students make up the lion's share of people taking the MCAT, they are not going to be far from the average in either direction.


    That is probably the problem with statistics from every program. This thread has already had two responses supporting that notion.
  8. glomerulus

    glomerulus Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2002

    Thanks for your response, I just wanted to clarify quickly exactly what I meant. By no means was I trying to imply that specifically Kaplan students are more prepared for the MCAT. I personally am not taking any class, just studying on my own. I meant to argue that ANY student taking a review class probably has a better chance of doing well on the real test than just the average student. I also realize that there are plenty of students studying privately that will do very well on the test (of which I hope to be one of), but there are also those students who don't study, don't take a review class, but just hope to do well. These are the people that I thought might contribute to lowering the overall average. If at least some of these students do exist, then it may still be reasonable to say that the Kaplan test average (or EK/PR/BR averages) would be higher than the real thing.
  9. holla

    holla Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    well i took kaplan last summer..did terrible on the mcats..ok on science bombed verbal..and on the practice tests i was gettin around a 30..the reason however i think i did bad was cause i was nervous...and not good in takin tests under pressure..but i know other people who have taken kaplan did worse on the mcat and second time studied on their own and did a lot better, which is what im hopin for now
  10. marq_bme

    marq_bme Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2002
    Milwaukee, WI
    in response to the thread directly above me, and to the original post, i did WORSE on the real thing than on kaplan.

    I read a similar posts above that said they did much worse on test-day verbal than on kaplan verbal---this is a FACT. Kaplan verbal is terrible, and will NOT prepare you for the real thing.

    My scores on the kaplan tests were something like 34, 30, 36, 32, with 10s in verbal, and varying scores in the sciences...

    my AAMC scores were roughly 29-32, with consistently lower verbals (8-9).

    Kaplan, in addition to poorly preparing you for verbal, has ridiculously GENEROUS bio curves and tests. they ask the same damn thing on all their practice tests, and you are just gearing for an ass-kicking come test day.

    my results?...huh, just as i expected -- 9, 14, 10 Q. Kaplan over-prepares you for physical sciences, has no idea how either verbal or bio operates, and overestimates your confidence for these latter 2 sections. My advice...go EK or TPR. Kaplan is way too homogenized for one type of student. Similarly, NOTHING beats AAMC IV-VI--these are your true indicators.
  11. TexasGuy41

    TexasGuy41 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I think the Kaplan physical Science sections are not even worth taking in terms of trying to finish in 100 minutes. They are WAY too long and involved. Its so much that the questions are harder, but if you just look at the passages compared to the AAMC ones, the Kaplan ones are on avg 1 or 2 paragraphs longer, and the stupid math they make you do is much longer. I never finish Kaplan Physical Sciences in 100 minutes, but I've taken every single AAMC test and the real MCAT last August and I always finished with like 5 minutes to go.

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