Kaplan vs. Princeton Review MCAT Prep Courses

The MCAT is the Medical College Admissions Test. It is the only exam accepted by almost all medical schools in the U.S. and Canada. Your score on the MCAT is a significant factor that medical schools will look at when deciding on acceptance.  

Since the MCAT is an essential part of the medical school admission process, taking an MCAT prep course is a great idea. These courses will prepare you for the types of questions you will encounter and the test's format and time constraints. 

While there are many MCAT test prep options, two popular choices are Kaplan and the Princeton Review. Let's compare what both have to offer.

kaplan vs. Princeton Review MCAT

MCAT Prep Princeton Review Kaplan
  Princeton Review logo Kaplan logo
Rating 
T-G Recommended
Pricing  $1699$1444
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 $1599
 Subscription Length  12 Months  5 Months
 Delivery Methods  Online, In-person  Online, In-person
 Instruction Hours  123 Hours  36 Hours
 Instructors  4-6 Subject Experts  1 General Instructor
 MCAT Practice Tests  16  14
 On-Demand Content  Over 500 On-Demand Resources  None

MCAT Test Prep Instruction

The Princeton Review offers 123 live instruction hours with an in-person and live online option. This instruction includes both MCAT content and test-taking strategies to get you ready for test day. 

These instruction hours also include 21 hours of critical analysis and reasoning skills prep and 33 hours of biochemistry and biology prep. After completing this course, you will have a great understanding of all MCAT content and feel confidently prepared on test day. 

Kaplan MCAT Prep also offers both in-person and online live instruction, but this program only includes 36 hours of instruction. The focus of this instruction is test-taking strategies. There are only 9 hours of critical analysis and reasoning skills prep and 9 hours of biochemistry and biology prep.

Based on the number of live instruction hours alone, the Princeton Review is a more comprehensive review option.

MCAT Prep Course Teacher Qualifications

The Princeton Review MCAT prep course includes 4 to 6 expert instructors to teach each subject. That means your teachers are not just experts on passing the MCAT exam but also knowledgeable on the material they are teaching. 

This difference will help you achieve a deeper understanding of the content you need to pass the MCAT and have a successful foundation of knowledge entering medical school. 

Kaplan offers its students one general instructor, for all sessions of the MCAT. While this person understands the MCAT, they are less knowledgeable about the complex subjects you need to master to pass the MCAT.

The quality of the instructors with the Princeton Review makes it the clear winner in this category. 

Included MCAT Online Study Resources

When you decide to use the Princeton Review, you will get access to an interactive student dashboard. This dashboard includes over 3000 stand-alone and passage-based questions for you to utilize while studying. 

Considering the MCAT is a comprehensive exam with four different sections of questions, these additional 3000 questions will make a big difference in preparing you for the various questions you will encounter.

If you go with an MCAT review on Kaplan, you won't have a designated question bank; however, you will have access to quizzes designed from over 1000 questions.

MCAT Prep Practice Tests

When it comes to practice tests, the Princeton Review and Kaplan have similar offerings. Princeton Review offers 16 practice tests while Kaplan offers 14. These tests include all the official AAMC practice exams for you to study, review, and practice taking. 

MCAT Interactive Learning Resources 

The Princeton Review includes its very own smart practice technology. This is an online study tool designed exclusively for Princeton. It uses Nobel Prize-winning research to help guide your studying. 

This responsive form of preparation will make all the difference in your efforts to prepare for the MCAT. That's because getting feedback on what you got wrong, why it was wrong, and what the answer should have been will help you to master material much faster than independently studying.

Unfortunately, Kaplan does not offer smart practice technology.

MCAT Content Review

With the Princeton Review study program, you will have access to MedFlix. This is a library of over 500 MCAT study videos that you can play on-demand when you need them most. 

This feature allows you to play the subjects you need to focus on as many times as you would like while also giving you the ability to skip the topics you have mastered. MedFlix is a resource you will only find with the Princeton Review.

Kaplan offers access to the MCAT Channel. This is a video service that plays helpful study resources. While some archived videos are available 24/7, you cannot skip ahead to the material you need or repeat a subject you would like to see again. 

With MedFlix, the Princeton Review has a much greater list of video resources for you to utilize when studying. 

MCAT Prep Course Additional Information

The Princeton Review offers a prep option with the MCAT 510+ Guarantee. When you take one of these guaranteed courses, Princeton Review will ensure that your score will increase by at least 10 points up to 510, or they will refund you the cost of the course. 

Getting a score of at least 510 will give you a three times higher acceptance rate into U.S. medical schools. Considering that acceptance into medical school is likely your reason for taking the MCAT, you can't go wrong with choosing the Princeton Review as your go to study resource.

In addition to their MCAT 510+ Guarantee, The Princeton Review offers various study packages so you can choose the resources that best fit your budget and your needs. These options range from self-paced study courses all the way to live instruction and study help.

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Rating:

T-G Recommended

Bottom Line

The most comprehensive MCAT course we reviewed. With 12 months of access, students should do very well on the MCAT when using this prep course.

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If you want to learn more about Princeton Review and their MCAT prep course, check out our demo of the course. Our demo includes actual screenshots and video recordings of the course to give students a better feel for the course. 

MCAT FAQS

How long should studying for the MCAT take?

The AAMC recommends that anyone preparing for the MCAT plan to spend 300-350 hours studying for the MCAT. If that is broken up evenly over three months, that would equal over 20 hours of study time each week. Depending on your schedule and study needs, you may want to give yourself more time or less time.

Because taking 20 hours a week to study for the MCAT can be overwhelming and hard to maintain, The Princeton Review suggests that you study only 10-15 hours a week and break that up over 4-6 months.

Are MCAT prep courses worth it?

Your score on the MCAT is one of the most significant deciding factors on admission to medical school. Getting to medical school is something that has taken time and dedication. Spending the time and money necessary to get into the medical school of your choice is an investment you won't regret.

Everyone learns differently and at a different pace. Take the time to think about your learning style and find the MCAT prep resources that fit your needs. Like the Princeton Review, many companies offer you the ability to choose the best study plan for your needs. Choosing the best study plan for yourself is one of the most important steps in choosing the right MCAT prep course.

Is the MCAT exam difficult to pass?

The MCAT is an in-depth exam that covers the science subjects you learned in college. Schools place such an emphasis on a good MCAT score because a concrete understanding of these subjects is crucial to complete medical school successfully.

If you are having trouble passing the MCAT, it is a good indicator that you may have difficulty keeping up with the subjects and workload of medical school. Taking the time to prepare with an MCAT resource like the Princeton Review or Kaplan will set you up for success on passing the exam and give you a great foundation of knowledge heading into medical school.

Why do some MCAT courses cost so much?

Studying for the MCAT is a process that takes anywhere from 3-6 months. If you decide to take an MCAT study course rather than studying yourself, you will benefit from live instruction or virtual lessons, feedback from an instructor, access to a library of study resources and videos, and help with test taking strategies.

Think of the course you take to prepare for the MCAT like you would any other college course. Using the right resources to prepare will also help you confidently go into test day, knowing you have a team of professionals setting you up for success.

What is a good MCAT score?

MCAT scores range from 472-528. A score of 500 is average, placing you higher than 50% of students who take the MCAT. It is safe to say you want to score at least a 500 on your MCAT, but it is also important to note that scoring average may not be enough to get you accepted into a competitive medical school.

Look at your list of top school choices and find the average acceptance rate of their students. This will give you an idea of what score you should have to submit a competitive application.

According to the Princeton Review, a score of 510 gives you a three times higher acceptance rate than a score of 500. If you are concerned about scoring at least a 510 on your MCAT, a study program like Princeton Review that offers their 510+ Guarantee may be something you want to consider.
 

 

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