Is Kaplan or Princeton Review better for MCAT?
This Kaplan vs The Princeton Review MCAT is a guide to compare these two MCAT course providers. When it comes to the rivalry between MCAT courses, Kaplan vs Princeton Review probably has one of the biggest rivalries. It’s called Kaplan vs Princeton Review MCAT because these two companies are very well known and have plenty of materials to help students get better for the MCAT exam.
Right now, you might be wondering. Which one is better? Which should I choose? Well, don’t worry, we’ve developed this comprehensive guide and placed them against each other to see what their advantages and disadvantages are. At the end of it, we will also announce the winner of this comparison.
Kaplan or Princeton Review MCAT?
Review of Kaplan MCAT
Let’s start off with the Kaplan MCAT. Ever since 1938, when people think of test prep, they think of Kaplan. They are one of the biggest test prep companies in the world and operate in more than 30 countries. Thanks to the online platform that Kaplan offers, pre-med students can easily access the course with ease.
If you like variety, then you’ll like Kaplan because it provides students with various MCAT course options. To be more specific, they provide 4 individual prep course offerings and here are the 4 offerings:
- DIY Course
- Online Course
- In Person Course
For students that are on a budget or those who prefer a self-paced study, the Kaplan DIY Course would be the best choice. The price of this course is $1,799, cheapest among the 4 MCAT prep course offerings. This is a flexibly-structured course where you can enjoy 6 months of access that includes practice tests, online video lessons and coursework, with no classroom components.
Next is their live online course that will cost you about $2,499. Unlike the DIY course, the live online MCAT course is more structured and has live online classes according to a fixed schedule and time. The online classes are conducted by qualified teachers and you are allowed to communicate with them for extra help.
If you prefer to have classes in-person like in a traditional classroom setting, then you would like the in-person course that Kaplan offers. Their courses are available all over the world with a qualified teacher conducting the class. For $2,699, you will get 12 three-hour classes with 6 months of access to additional practice materials.
Lastly, we have the Kaplan Bootcamp which is the most expensive among the 4 course options. The price for this MCAT course is $6,999 and Kaplan provides an intensive MCAT prep course that requires students to meet on a daily basis for 5 to 6 weeks. In addition, you will also get training in a small-group, one-on-one tutoring, full length practice tests and many more.
Other than these 4 course options, there are also some tutoring packages that Kaplan offers. However, they are private tutoring sessions so the price will be slightly high, starting at $3,699. The private tutoring is done through an online platform by Kaplan and you can get 10 to 40 hours of tutoring.
Now, let’s have a deeper look into the Kaplan MCAT prep courses. Firstly, Kaplan covers all the details in the MCAT and even though the course is not exactly logically designed, the science subject content reviews in the first two units are extremely thorough. Also, total prep time of all the resources, including live and on demand instruction and practice material amounts to over 700 hours which is a good amount of preparation.
While their live class doesn’t give as many hours as Princeton Review, their live instruction is definitely top grade and solid. The instructors at Kaplan are great at teaching difficult subjects and you can easily approach them if you have any doubts. Kaplan has a different approach to the live instruction compared to Princeton Review but it will depend on your learning style to decide which is better for you.
In addition to the quality content review and instruction by Kaplan, they also have incredible on demand video lessons. The content in the videos are very well presented, making it easy for students to learn from it. Not only is there quality content review, but you will also find that the instructor delivers the lessons in a way that is helpful for students to understand.
Advantages of the Kaplan Review MCAT
There are a few reasons that make the Kaplan MCAT so popular among medical students and here are some of the reasons why.
For starters, beyond the content review that you are getting, Kaplan also provides additional resources to support you in your preparation. Besides the essential material, it comes with courses with six months of access to things like over 90 hours of recorded lessons, interactive science review videos, subject review books and also AAMC practice tests.
The full-length practice tests that Kaplan is providing is a great way to understand the format of the official MCAT and the types of questions you will need to answer. Which leads to the next advantage of Kaplan and that is their large Qbank.
Kaplan has a big Qbank that makes their MCAT practice tests valuable because you’re unlikely to do the same question more than once. Their Qbank has over 2,900 questions and these practice questions can help to identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can work on them. Each question is also given a detailed explanation which is extremely valuable.
Speaking of value, the information that you get from Kaplan is of excellent value. The information and knowledge that you gained from them is valuable because it helps to develop your strategy for taking the test. By going through their MCAT prep courses and practice questions, you’ll have a pretty good idea how it’ll be like on test day.
Disadvantages of the Kaplan
Now that you know what are the advantages of Kaplan, let’s have a look at some of its disadvantages and why some people dislike it.
One of Kaplan’s greatest strengths is also their weakness. Kaplan’s excellence lies in the ability to develop strong test-taking strategies. However, because it focuses on test-taking strategies, other aspects of the MCAT test prep did not get as much attention and you can tell from the thousands of practice questions and exams.
Lack of content review
Due to Kaplan’s imbalanced focus mentioned above, one of the most important things that isn’t as good as it should be is the content review. Kaplan’s MCAT content review is not as excellent as some of its competition and for that reason, some students don’t prefer Kaplan’s course.
Kaplan is lacking in the coverage of content review and some segments of the course covers high-yield lessons about particular topics. However, the courses aren’t very detailed in a sense that the core science and medical information are not fully covered.
In-depth content review is crucial in helping you get the best MCAT score. For you to get a better content review you’ll have to do some extra studying. In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for the Qbank questions and subject review books from Kaplan.
Review of The Princeton Review MCAT
Princeton Review is a newer test prep company compared to Kaplan but it’s as popular as Kaplan. It was founded in 1981 and the company doesn’t just operate in the United States, it is also operating worldwide with international franchises in 14 countries.
Similar to Kaplan, the Princeton Review offers various course options as well. But, instead of offering in a class format like Kaplan, Princeton Review’s MCAT prep courses are based on differing level of instruction, content access and guarantees. The 4 Princeton Review MCAT prep courses are as follows:
- MCAT 510+
- MCAT 515+ Immersion
Let’s talk about the Self-Paced course first. This is Princeton Review’s best course for students that have a stricter budget because it is priced at $1,699. The Self-Paced course is a flexible option so that the student is not tied down to a fixed timetable. This Prince Review course can be accessed online and it includes video instructions, study sessions, practice tests and others.
The second option by Princeton Review is the Ultimate course. This Ultimate course is available in-person or online and is considered as Princeton Review’s flagship program. The price that Ultimate course is offered at is $2,699 and you will be receiving 123 hours of instruction and the 123 hours are divided into 41 3-hour sessions so it is easier to cope.
One level higher, we have the Princeton Review MCAT 510+ program that’s not found in Kaplan’s MCAT courses. They are offering this option at $3,399 and you’ll be receiving the same instruction as the Ultimate option. However, this course offers more than the previous one with over 12 topic-focused sessions to strengthen your weaknesses.
Additionally, 510+ is a one-on-one MCAT preparation course that lets you work with an expert study manager. The reason that it’s named 510+ is because Princeton Review provides a score guarantee of 510 or better by using Princeton Review’s test prep.
Lastly, one of the best MCAT courses from Princeton Review is the MCAT 515+ Immersion course. Top-quality MCAT courses usually come with an expensive price tag and this Princeton Review MCAT prep is no exception. Coming in at a whopping $6,999, Princeton Review gives you 860 hours of guided instruction, MCAT practice questions and more from the 515+ Immersion course.
The 860 hours is a lot more than one of the previous courses from Princeton Review that offers 123 hours of guided instruction only. Of the 860 hours, 169 hours are dedicated to live instruction by a highly-qualified teacher. Similarly to Kaplan’s Bootcamp, you can access an expert study manager and Princeton Review gives unlimited tutoring on-demand.
Additionally, Princeton Review also offers other things that you can buy. For instance, they have personal tutoring and a Winter Break course that lasts for a few weeks. Check them out if you need some assistance for your test prep.
Overall, Princeton Review has well-structured MCAT courses which take a smooth flowing approach unlike Kaplan in which their content reviews jump from one subject to another. Princeton Review’s coursework structure also includes all the topics and subtopics that you will have to deal with in the actual thing.
In terms of Princeton Review’s practice test, they provide more than 2,500 practice questions and access to 16 full-length AAMC practice exams. The numbers are similar to Kaplan’s and the quality of material is exceptional too.
Although both test prep companies, Princeton Review and Kaplan, have quality MCAT content, the practice test explanations by Princeton Review are better. The explanations by Princeton Review are more thorough which breaks down the question to its core components and gives explanations as to why your choice is right or wrong.
Advantages of the Princeton MCAT
The Princeton Review MCAT is associated with many benefits and here are some of the top ones.
Incredible prep books
An exceptional benefit that the Princeton Review MCAT comes with is the prep books they supply to every student that made a purchase for the Princeton Review MCAT prep package. When you purchase their package, it comes with 11 printed prep books that amounts to over 100 hours of prep time.
Out of the 11 prep books, 7 books are for content review that cover essential MCAT scientific topics, while 4 are books related to the course. Their content review books are excellent because they are very detailed and supply clear explanations for a better understanding. This is not to say that Kaplan’s books are bad, but if there’s a choice, Princeton Review’s books will be better.
Impressive content reviews
As mentioned above, Princeton Review has incredible prep books with quality content review. But how impressive is it really? You might wonder. Without further ado, let’s dive deep into it.
Firstly, in comparison to other MCAT prep providers, Princeton Review is giving a much more in-depth content review. Take their 12-week course schedule as an example. You’ll be spending more than just a few hours going through the essential information. Instead, you’ll go through:
- Biology and biochemistry for 33 hours
- Organic chemistry for 12 hours
- General chemistry for 18 hours
- Physics for 18 hours
- Psychology and sociology for 21 hours
- CARS instruction for 21 hours
Besides that, you will also gain access to hundreds of hours of top-notch video content, practice questions and detailed explanations too. Their attention to content review is obvious and much of your time is dedicated to the core material which comes in handy during the real thing.
Disadvantages of the Princeton
Despite all the incredible things that Princeton Review offers, there are some disadvantages about the Princeton Review that you should take note of. Here are the disadvantages.
This is quite obvious between Kaplan and Princeton Review and even other test prep providers. Princeton Review is priced on the costly end and if you consider the extras that you might add on, you could possibly spend a fortune with them. However, they do make up for it by offering regular discounts.
Since there are many MCAT courses that they offer, you can spend your money wisely by choosing the ones that are best for you. That way, you won’t have to break your bank purchasing courses from Princeton Review.
Lacking in the CARS section
Some of their courses are exceptional but some are not as comprehensive as you want it to be. The Princeton Review MCAT is slightly subpar in its CARS or otherwise known as Critical Analysis and Reasoning Section. This is one of the most difficult sections and it’s hard to prepare for it.
However, based on the dedicated time for CARS, it is not as thorough as we would want it to be. Additional material is also limited but they do offer a specific course for the CARS but it costs $499.
Conclusion for Princeton Review vs Kaplan MCAT
We have now come to the end of Kaplan vs Princeton Review MCAT and the winner based on a series of comprehensive reviews is Princeton Review. Between Kaplan and Princeton Review, Princeton Review offers a better benefit than Kaplan.
The edge that makes Princeton the winner is the quality of content review from the incredible books. Although it is pricier, the standard it has justifies it.
Do both Kaplan and Princeton Review include hard copy prep books?
Yes. Both organizations provide hard copy prep books with their prep packages.
What is the main difference between Princeton vs Kaplan MCAT?
The main difference between them has something to do with instruction. Kaplan has better on-demand, video instructions, while Princeton has more class quantity and better live classroom.
Which MCAT courses should I choose, Princeton Review or Kaplan MCAT?
For Kaplan, it has almost 5000 practice questions with text explanations attached. So, Kaplan has the advantages in terms of quantity. While for Princeton, it provides a more comprehensive study schedule on its course structure and quality. So at the end of the day, it really depends on which study method you are more comfortable with.