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Why Kaplan Sucked

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by choker, Oct 21, 2001.

  1. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    i hated kaplan. the princeton review course is INFINITELY better. here's why:
    with kaplan, you have to go to the freaking test center to do your studying and practice exams_ ON PUBLIC BOOKS!!! you don't even get your own copy of the homework or exams! instead, you have to drive down to the stupid center (for me it was a 45 minute subway ride), check out the freaking book, and use a damn MARKER on LAMINATED PAGES!!!
    by the end, all your clothes, hands, and books are blue from the freaking marker leaking from the page, you're broke from commuting a few times a week, AND you have wasted half your freaking study time commuting to the damn center.

    you want to study for the mcats when YOU want (ie, 1 hour here and their amidst your other studying at 1-6 AM), NOT between the hours of 8AM and 9PM (when the center's open).

    The whole Kaplan system is really really crappy. the teachers suck, the material is cursory at best, the only decent thing you get out of the course are those stupid flashcards. kaplan doesn't give ANY test taking skills either.

    your entire score with kaplan depends on how much time you put into the course books and problems OUTSIDE of class. the classes themselves are a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME as the teacher just reads off directly from the book itself.

    i did do reasonably well on the test, but i attribute my score to the fact that my friend who took princeton review gave me his damn books and i read them as much as possible before the test. they actually GIVE you each homework problem and material on the first day_ NO STUPID CENTERS!!!

    TPR is much much more in depth, which means more work (a lot of overkill), but then when you see the random passages on the test, you're at least familiar with the material.

    sorry to vent, but my experience is not unique at all. EVERYONE at my school that took Kaplan had the same complaints and everyone here that took TPR absolutely raved about it. they were much much much better prepared than we were and on average they all did much much better.

    take the damn princeton review course, just stay away from their online forum.
     
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  2. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Sorry to hear you had such a lousy experience. I've heard that it varies by location. I've used Kaplan twice, once in the Bay Area and once in Chicago, and had decent experiences both times.
     
  3. MorningLight2100

    MorningLight2100 Senior Member
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    choker, please ease up on the language. There's no need to scream & curse in your posts...especially about something like a prep course which, in the grand scheme of things, matters so very little!!!! The need to vent is completely understandable (and healthy!!!), but honestly, there are so many things in life that are far more important. As someone here in New York City, I think you understand that.

    That being said, I'm sorry that your experience with Kaplan was far less than satisfactory. Personally I didn't take a prep course at all, so I can't vouch for either, but I have friends who've taken both...I've heard from them that, as you said, PR was the stronger of the two. I think it's a good reminder to others to check out the setup of the course before you decide to go ahead and shell out the time and money.
     
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  4. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    sorry to offend, but i did leave out curses. i was just reading another post where someone recommended kaplan and it got me going. my friends and i were just really upset with our kaplan experiences and was wondering if any other kaplan experiences were similar/different across the country.
     
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  5. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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    Do Berkeley Review...It is by far the best!!!
     
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  6. KatieKat

    KatieKat Member
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    Totally agree choker! I felt the same way about driving 30 min to a center packed with premeds for the privelege of getting all blue!
     
  7. snowballz

    snowballz Senior Member
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    Do you have to dole out alot of money to take a prep course? Or can you study alone? If so, what prep is best?

    I've considered buying that $65 Kaplan book, ya know, the big red one, but don't know if it's worth it.

    Did everyone here take a prep course? (I'm asking because when the time comes, I doubt I'll have the money for one.)

    Alicia
     
  8. i hated kaplan and berkely review

    the one by FAR best was princeton review

    kaplan, for all the reasons choker mentioned and just a crappy review course overall

    Bekrley, OVerkill!!! MAN its called a REVIEW COURSE

    freakin berkely gives 7 textbooks, and says here brush on the subjects!! whta the heck...princeton gave all the necessary stuff needed to do well! I took both kaplan, berkeley, and princeton..

    kaplan for SATS = didnt do jack sh!t
    Berkeley books = took the review course
    Princeton = got the BOOKS only

    and by far, Princeton kicked a$$...kaplan is too cheap...they have issues with not releasing their exams!
     
  9. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I actually took both Hyperlearning and Kaplan. I have no idea about the teaching or the centers because I never used them. Bat as far as the material they give you, I must disagree. I found the TPR was missing a ton of stuff that was on the test. But there Verbal was the best far and away. But I think the material Kaplan gives you far and away is the best.
    That being said, I totally agree with scoob about taking Berkeley Review. Of course, it is only offered in California, but it sciences kick the S*** out of both Kaplan and TPR. But it's verbal is absolutely horrible. They ask questions about parts of the passage that was deleted before the bookk was printed.
     
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  10. elle

    elle Senior Member
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    I took TPR and I didn't think the classes were very helpful, but I thought the books they had were great! Those and the sample exams were definitely the best preparation possible for me. I also liked having all the resources and not having to drive to a central library or anything...
     
  11. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    btw, the big red book is IDENTICAL to the material they give you. just buy that book and take TPR.

    actually, the only thing the courses give you besides a syllabus to follow that you can't buy in a bookstore for <100$ is about 5-10 practice tests.

    seriously dude, do it on your own and save the money. just make sure you're dedicated as hell.
     
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  12. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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    The thing I loved about Berkeley Review...the teachers!!! AMAZING TEACHERS!!!

    They were all in their 30's and had taken the actual MCAT MANY MANY MANY times! A few even were at the test centers with us taking it again!

    They do not hire students to teach the sections (such as kaplan) which is excellent! I would not want some of the people I know teaching to teach me...

    The teachers at Berkeley review had been there for a long time..and were going to stay there for a while as well...True..the verbal sucked..but as I said before...I raised my score 2 points on it by not studying for it at all!

    It's sciences are a little overboard but I only used those books for all the practice tests...Berkeley review lets you take home ANYTHING and everything you want! You don't have to do stuff in the center..you get it all! And they let you do antying you want! AWESOME EXPERIENCE!
     
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  13. Sprockette

    Sprockette Senior Member
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    I did not take a prep course...I bought the "big red book" and it was fine for me. I think it's really a personal decision...do you feel as though you've had a thorough science background and have retained it well? If so, then you may not need to take a prep course. For me, it came down to that, and also money...I certainly do not have enough money to fork over for a class AND apps...so I studied on my own. Took AAMC practice tests with my friends, studied from the red book, looked back at old course material if I felt I needed to, and I ended up doing just fine on the MCAT. :)

    Good luck!
     
  14. Mage

    Mage Member
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    I bought the big red book, its physical sciences review is very helpful, in my opinion. The biology review much less so.

    I definitely would have bought any Princeton Review materials if I had found any...looked all over amazon.com / barnes&nobles and couldn't find anything. Their AP Biology book was excellent...learned nothing during the entire year in the class 1.5 yrs ago, studied the book for a couple weeks, and got a 5.

    Their free online test was far more "MCAT-like" than any of Kaplan's practice tests, too.
     
  15. Aniulka

    Aniulka Member
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    I had a good experience with Kaplan. However, here in G-ville they have one center on campus and one that is only about a five minute drive from where I live. I thought that the books were very helpful b/c they condensed the information and left out anything that wasn't necessary. My teacher was pretty good too. I picked Kaplan b/c they have videos of the classes in case you can't make it to one. Plus, I had heard more positive comments about Kaplan than about PR.
    I definitely agree, though, that turning blue from the markers was not fun! :)
     
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  16. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    2 more posts till senior membership
     
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  17. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    1 more post till senior membership...
     
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  18. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    FINALLY!!! SENIOR MEMBERSHIP!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA
    NOW I HAVE THE POWER TO ENSLAVE HUMANITY AND FORCE MYSELF INTO MED SCHOOL.
    no really, very curious what my new powers are. anyone???

    -senior choker.
     
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  19. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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    You can now tell people who ask about their chances of acceptance to a medical school with a 3.97 (that damn Ochem class gave them an A-) and a 34 MCAT (you know..not over 35...they must suck) that they need to go to the other board and not to post here :)

    And your words will carry the weight of a senior member :p :p :p :p :p :p
     
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  20. Optimistic

    Optimistic Senior Member
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    I can not tell how much I dislike kaplan. I do not know about princton but I had a bad experience with kaplan.I totally agree with you. writing on them laminated sheets was crazy. I never had enough space to summarize my verbal passages nor did i have space for calculations. Iam totally disgusted by it but unfortunately I am going to have to go back as iam retaking mcat. Princeton is too far away from my house.
     
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  21. Coalboy

    Coalboy Senior Member
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    Two words: scratch paper :) And furthermore, they give you the same amount of room that you get on the actual MCAT.

    Seriously, though, I took Kaplan, and I was also annoyed with the blue-marker-on-the-hands thing. I also would have appreciated longer test-center hours; five hours on Sat/Sun is just not enough, in my opinion. At the same time, I was overall very satisfied with Kaplan. As with any test-prep, it is all what you make of it. If you simply went to the classes and did nothing else, you would get nothing from it and be wasting your money. You can't expect to be spoon-fed this material. You have to put in the time yourself, and for me, Kaplan (and the money I put into it) gave me the structure/motivation to study nearly every day. Their training library is extensive, and I took six full-length exams (five of them proctored like the real thing), which I would never have done on my own. As a result, the real test was not a big deal, and I scored very well.

    With all this bashing going on, I felt like I had to step in and stand up for poor l'il ol' big corporate Kaplan.
     
  22. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    respect my seniority foo and don't patronize me, son.

    seriously, i think it depends on your living situation. i would have much preferred to work out of a book in my room at 3AM than commute to a center during prime time; i would have studied a lot more. :p
     
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  23. Sandhya

    Sandhya Junior Member
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    That's exactly how I felt. I think it really depends on how you study. If you don't study a lot at home but study in a library, Kaplan may work for you. I took Kaplan and I'm the kind of person who works from 11-4 at night at my house. I didn't do as well as I would have liked to on the MCAT so now I'm going to take PR and retake in April.
     
  24. rebelins

    rebelins Junior Member
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    Chalk another one up for AGAINST Kaplan. I didn't realize it at the time, but not marking in a verbal section is a death sentence. I'm left-handed too, so I get the fat blue mark on the side of my hand. But their tests were ok..can't wait till the Boards. :(
     
  25. dtreese

    dtreese Caramel Gollum
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    I have to say that I had a great experience at Kaplan. Part of it probably has to do with the fact that at my test center, they let me use scantrons instead of blue marker. I just used scratch paper for calculations, cause that didn't really bug me.
    I think if you go there depending on the classes, you're gonna come away disappointed. Still, I learned some essential strategies during class time. The really valuable items at Kaplan are the practice tests and explanations.
    Definitely, I agree w/choker on one point. If you're in a situation where you can't log some serious hours at the study center, you might not want to fork over the dough. I'm lucky enough to have flexible hours at my office, so I was normally able to spend about five hours a day over there. And I did it every damn day. I spent very few waking hours at home for 2 months, but it was worth it. And the reason I got a 13 on physical sciences was because I had taken so many tests that most of the passages were almost identical to other passages I had seen before. One was so close to a passage I had seen the previous week, I did a double-take.
    If I could do it over, I would have taken Kaplan before my first MCAT. As it is, I brought my composite up 7 points after Kaplan.
     
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  26. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member
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    Well, i'm gonna go pro-Kaplan on this. I had a good experience with them. While their verbal was REALLY weak, i doubt i would've done too well on that section anyway. Their materials were great, and I didn't mind the laminated sheets thing- it keeps costs down and i'm not into eating up as many trees as it would take to give one of those out to everyone. The fact our test center was a ways from campus didn't bother me- i scheduled my classes either early or late, then hopped on my bike and went down to the center. I *liked* not seeing any other pre-meds there- just the guys studying for their boards who were always quiet and respectful. I needed the structure of classes and a schedule of what i should be doing as i'm essentially a lazy kid. All in all, i was satisfied with kaplan. --Trek
     
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  27. nitemagi

    nitemagi Senior Member
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    Talk about weak verbal. My score actually went down on verbal from my diagnostic test to the actual MCAT! Thanks Kaplan! :mad:
     
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  28. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member
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    I was really lucky because Kaplan let us take the class from a local college (suburban campus). They had all the Kaplan materials in the school library so I never had to go to the Kaplan center unless I wanted to study on Sunday. Also, I could study by myself in a private room which was very nice.

    As far as the laminated booklets go, I never used the blue pen. I always wrote on scratch paper (including my answers). I did get "blue marker hands" from where previous people didn't clean the books very well.

    Overall, Kaplan was better for me because of this setup. If I had to drive an hour to the Kaplan center to study, I would probably feel negatively about it also. The classes were ok, but not awesome. The online tests were somewhat useful also.
     
  29. kspillman

    kspillman Member
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    I took Kaplan and I liked it. I don't know if you all are aware but they have lots of practice tests online so you can work at 3:00 in the morning if that's your thing. I thought the classes were helpful on showing what exactly I needed to focus on and how the MCAT would ask it. As far as verbal goes my score went up 5 points from my diagnostic. However, I worked my butt off on verbal. I think as someone mentioned earlier, it's just about the time and effort you put in it. Although I will also say not all test centers are alike and if you get a bad one, it could definitely affect you. But that's just my personal opinion, I could be wrong.
    KIM
     
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  30. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    i dont know about you guys, but when you are studying to take a test where getting used to the conditions means half your score, taking a test online doesn't cut it. reading and taking a test on a computer screen sucks and it's NOTHING like doing it on a paper. besides, they dont have all their tests online, only a small proportion of the subject tests and THATS IT!!!

    looking at increases in score from diagnostic test is a really really inaccurate representation of the course's effectiveness. chances are, you took that diagnostic before you even STARTED reviewing a subject. you dont know anything before you start studying! granted, if you weren't going to do or study ANYTHING before the actual test, then the diagnostic index is an accurate reflection of the course. a real indicator would be if you were very familiar with the material BEFORE you took that diagnostic and compared it to your score after the course. so dont talk about increases in diagnostic scores because it's just not an accurate index.
     
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  31. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member
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    Yeah, and you can't print them out either. I thought that was rotten. However, I could get my score right away and see the solutions.

    Well, why would I take Kaplan if I was totally ready for the test? I had just had bio and organic, and my BS score went way up during the course. So, I was familiar with BS subjects and my score went up about 5-6 points from my starting point. Not saying I couldn't have got there studying on my own, but Kaplan has a lot of great resources.

    Another thing that helped me was having my practice essays graded. I also had my Kaplan teacher review some of the essays I wrote for practice that weren't part of an official test. I'm sure that helped me.

    Anyway, it's all a matter of opinion. I had more money than time when I took it, so it helped me really focus and study the right things. If you have more time than money, then studying on your own might be the way to go.
     
  32. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member
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    Space- if you really need me to, i'll be glad to remedy you for your "more money than time" problem. Checks, money orders or even paypal to : Trek_OCLV........USA :)
    --Trek
     
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  33. isa

    isa Senior Member
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    I took Kaplan and had good and bad experiences from it. They had GREAT practice materials; their library is huge. I hated, hated how I had to study at their center though. Tense pre-meds cramped in a tiny room didn't do much for my stress level. I also didn't like how some of the instructors were undergrads like me. The good thing, though, was that I was able to switch and look for the best teacher.

    I postponed the test after taking the class because I didn't think I was prepared enough. The second time around I studied on my own and used Kaplan and Berkeley Review materials. This is what I recommend, actually. Even if you take a prep course, ask around and use different materials. Two interpretations of the MCAT is better than one.
     
  34. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member
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    My "problem" will be pretty much taken care of when I quit my job to go to med school. Now, if you can find a way to give me more time in the day, I might pay you for that. :) I guess getting rid of my TV might be a start...
     

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