Prep-Course Review: MCAT

MCAT PICPrep courses are a huge investment of both time and money but with a multitude of different courses offered by so many different companies, all of which vary in length, depth and practice materials, choosing between them can be be confusing and overwhelming. For the next few posts, I’ll be comparing various prep courses for the MCAT, GMAT, LSAT and GRE. Disclaimer: I’ve never actually taken any of these courses and all of the information I’ll be relaying will be the result of external research and reviews from friends. First up is the MCAT. From what I gather, the two most popular courses are The Princeton Review’s MCAT Ultimate and Kaplan’s MCAT In-Person Prep Course.

The Princeton Review’s 3-month course is approximately $2,499. It’s taught in 2.5-hour sessions, three times per week for a total of 42 classes. In addition to the regular class sessions, the course also includes 20 hours of personalized tutoring. It also comes with 11 full-length practice tests.

Kaplan is often considered the more popular of the two because it offers more courses in more places. It’s taught in 2-3 hour sessions 2-3 times per week. According to Kaplan’s website, it boasts over 150 hours of instruction and 12 full-length practice tests.

Each course comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, so the “right” course really depends on what you’re looking to gain from a prep course. For instance, if you need more help with the scientific content, Kaplan is known for being more thorough in reviewing the fundamentals. On the other hand, the consensus is that The Princeton Review offers better practice material, both in its prep books and in its online content. Although Kaplan’s course comes with access to a greater quantity of practice resources, the majority of students prefer The Princeton Review’s practice material since it more closely resembles the actual MCAT in both style and difficulty. Also, according to my friend who successfully completed The Princeton Review’s course and scored extremely well on her MCAT, the practice material offered is more than enough. Furthermore, while The Princeton Review’s course comes with 20 hours of one-on-one tutoring, private sessions with Kaplan have to be purchased separately. It’s also worth noting that both courses come with a satisfaction guarantee. If after taking the course you’re not satisfied with your score, you can take the course again for no additional cost.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the descriptions I’ve provided here are for full-length courses. Each company offers shorter, more topic specific courses as well, which can be especially helpful if you feel that you only need help in certain areas and a whole course isn’t worth the time and money. Regardless of which course you choose, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with practice tests and books from other companies as well. I know that sounds expensive, but I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy books from all of these different courses. Chances are, you’ll have friends who enroll in different companies’ courses, so just keep in mind that sharing is caring and swap some practice materials.



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