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Kaplan vs Princeton Review MCAT: Which Is Best For You?

If you have been closely paying attention to any information regarding the MCAT test, then you must have heard for the Kaplan and the Princeton reviews.

These two have been battling it out for a while for the top MCAT prep guide title.

They are both highly valued among students preparing for their MCAT test and we feel it’s about time we settle this issue once and for all.

So, let’s weight them out in the following comparisons and at the end of it all, we should hopefully have a winner.

Kaplan MCAT vs Princeton Review MCAT Self-Paced Prep Courses

  • Comparing Table
Company The Princeton Review MCAT Kaplan MCAT
Price $1,899 $1799
Discounts $200 $200
Prep Books 10 7
Full-length practice exams 16 16
Course Formats Online self-study

, Video instructions

Instructor-led videos, unlimited online self-study access
Diagnostic Exams Yes No
Additional Resources Yes

 

No
Study Table No Yes
Premium option No Yes
Course Expiration Not indicated 5 months
Guarantee Yes Yes

Princeton Review MCAT Self-Paced Course Review

The Princeton Review MCAT test prep is flexible enough to fit into your schedule.

And it’s highly ranked with a promise of helping students get 510+ score, which is on the higher side.

Generally, considering the positive reviews about this guide on the internet, most students are happy and content with the amount of content they receive.

Given that they can easily access various expert MCAT tools and practice to help them gain the best from their solo learning sessions.

They are though a few others who feel they could have been happier if they had an instructor to give them a few tips here and there. But that isn’t surprising as humans are generally social beings.

A small “risk” to take, so it’s passable so long as you receive all the vital details you signed up for. After all, that’s what’s important, right?

What to expect to get with the Princeton Review MCAT Prep:

  • MedFlix

This package includes the awesome MedFlix, which comprises of expert video instructions. That too from the best certified and well-experienced instructors.

The videos are short and straight to the point and cover specific content areas.

This will help you in your focused study sessions as you won’t have to go through all the unnecessary details to get what you need.

  • Medical School Advantage

This is generally some useful admission strategies shared by Princeton Review’s premier Med admissions counselor.

You receive tips on how to beat the 42% medical school acceptance rate by giving you an upper hand on what admission committees look for and how you can strengthen your weaknesses.

  • Diagnostic Exams

The various MCAT subjects (including Biology to CARS), come with diagnostic exams to help you measure your capabilities.

This helps you know where you have improved and which areas to pay attention to.

  • Practice tests

The Princeton Review MCAT comes with 16 full-length practice tests, to give you a glimpse of what to expect in your MCAT test.

The tests are designed by qualified instructors and stimulate the format and the same time-limits as those of the MCAT tests.

Plus, you will also receive interactive score reports, that provide you with explanations on what you need to pay more attention to.

You even receive a noteboard to help you practice using laminated papers.

  • Drills

Here you receive multiple passage drills, complete with detailed explanations to help you learn from your mistakes.

You will even feel much better when you get things right!

  • Prep Books

The Princeton Review MCAT includes a complete set of 10 titles covering all tested topics.

From MCAT Biology, Biochemistry, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics& Maths, Psych& Sociology, to Critical Analysis, you will have enough in your hands.

  • Additional Resources

With the prep-self paced course, you receive 3 additional resources (MCAT Science Workbook, MCAT Science Review, Questions and Solutions, and MCAT CARS Workbook), New AAMC materials included (2019 October release)

  • The Princeton Review Guarantee

To show confidence in their work, they offer to refund your tuition if you score poorly in the exam.

And if you aren’t 100% satisfied with what you learn, you get an opportunity to repeat it for free. Of course terms and conditions apply.

  • Cost

The MCAT self-paced Course will cost you $1,699, with a discount of &200. Other extra expenses such as shipping might apply depending on your location.

Kaplan MCAT Self-Paced Course Review

Kaplan MCAT Test Prep is quite popular among pre-med students.

This is because, over the years, the company has managed to sore the heights and make a name for themselves in the test prep sector.

Also, since they’re quite flexible and offer their classes in more cities, they are bound to be famous.

Like the Princeton Review self-paced, Kaplan also offers their self-paced course in a way that perfectly suits their clients’ schedule. That too with guaranteed support throughout the duration.

They ensure to provide you with the freedom and guidance you need to learn in the full-demand class.

With Kaplan MCAT self-paced course, you get access to:

  • Study Anytime, Anywhere

This Kaplan package gives you access to their full-on-demand MCAT course, 24 hours a day.

This means, there’s no stopping. You can learn at any time you want and at whichever place you are.

It’s a plus because some students have other things going on, such as a part-time job, and following standard learning, time could be frustrating.

And this online access goes on for 5 months and that loosely translates to 660 hours of total instruction and practice! Quite intensive, right?

  • Teacher-Led Videos

Learning on your own is great, but sometimes you need guidance, especially when things seem to get thick.

And this is where you will find the Kaplan MCAT teacher-led videos helpful.

The videos are short and precise and they provide you with a breakdown of MCAT strategies, which could otherwise be difficult to master.

The best part is that you get to watch the videos at your own time, so you can gain a lot from them.

  • Adaptive Qbank

The adaptive Qbank’s smart algorithm is usually on constant alert to adapt fast and challenge you on various skills.

You will also find the 3D images impressive and they’re a great help into understanding your MCAT material.

  • Practice Tests

This Kaplan package comes with 16 full-length practice tests to prepare you for what awaits for you in the MCAT test.

They are well designed by certified instructors with years of experience.

And they use this to help you come up with relevant tests according to the MCAT patterns.

  • Prep Books

When you sign-up to this Kaplan self-paced package, you will receive a 7-book MCAT Subject Review et, to help you go through all the relevant content.

he class sessions include Chem/phys1, 2&3, CARS1&2, Psych/Soc1&2, Bio.Biochem1, 2,&3, Science Capstone and Countdown to test day.

  • Study Plan

You will also gain access to a personalized study plan, which will help you take care of your needs.

That means, you get to enhance your skills and improving on your weaknesses.

  • Self-Paced Plus

If you feel the need to, then you can upgrade to self-paced plus and benefit from;

  • 3-hour 1-on-1 tutoring,
  • MCAT Foundations of Biochemistry and Behavioral Science
  • Application, interview planning, and personal statement.
  • Price

The Kaplan MCAT self-paced prep normally costs $1799. But you can currently get it at $1599, which is a discount of $200.

Verdict: Which one Is Best For You?

A quick look at the two companies reveals that Kaplan Mcat is cheaper than Princeton Review by $100.

But considering the number of extras you receive from the Princeton Review package, then the price shouldn’t even be an issue.

The two test prep companies offer a similar number of full-length exams and their course format is pretty the same; online self-study and instructor videos. So, you really have to be self-motivated in both.

However, Princeton Review comes again with 10 preparation books, complete with diagnostic exams while Kaplan offers only 7, together with a customized study table, which is a plus.

I also found out that you have to pay extra if you want to access some extras in Kaplan, which I don’t find favorable for students trying to work on a tight budget.

But I must agree that the 7 resources provided by Kaplan are quite detailed as compared to those of The Princeton Review.

So, when you want intensive content coverage and premium options and tutoring, then Kaplan makes a perfect choice.

But if easy-to-understand explanations, well-thought-of books, and budget-friendly are the deal-breaker for you, then The Princeton Review is an ideal pick.

Kaplan MCAT vs Princeton Review MCAT Live Online Classes

Kaplan MCAT Live Online Classes Review

With the digital era, online classes have become the order of the day.

And the best part is that you get to learn anywhere you want, so lack of comfort shouldn’t be an excuse.

The Kaplan Live Online classes connect you with various highly-qualified and experienced MCAT instructors.

The instructors are picked according to student rating so you can be sure you will be dealing with the best

Here is what you should expect from this online course;

A built-in Support; so you can easily ask questions and get assistance on any arising issues.

Study Plan; you also don’t have to worry about coming up with a study plan. They customize one for you, complete with a full schedule so that you can always be aware of your next class session.

Self-Study Resources; being a Kaplan live online student gives you access to the self-study resources such as the MCAT channel and the Qbank, to help you understand various materials. And remember, these are available for you 24/7.

Live Classes; you get to join other students in live classes 6 nights a week. And if you miss a class for some reason, you can watch the recorded lessons and catch-up. This is also a great way to revise and remind yourself whatever you might have forgotten.

Premium; 12, 3-hour classes with a team of expert MCAT tutors.

Practice tests; the package contains 16 full-length realistic practice tests.

Homework; You also get some customized homework assignments, which mainly feature key strengths and weaknesses.

Preparation Books; the online package comes with a 7-books MCAT review set and a lesson book. (Chem/phys1, 2&3, CARS1&2, Psych/Soc1&2, Bio.Biochem1, 2,&3, Science Capstone and Countdown to test day.)

Videos; you will benefit from the 130 interactive science review videos, which will come in handy for a better understanding of content.

This plus the over 2,900 questions Qbank works to reveal your skill level, thus helping you exert effort where needed.

Extra resources; live online students gain access to all the official AAMC practice materials.

There’s, however, no premium option as in the self-paced package. But they even offer you a free class to help you decide!

Guarantee

Kaplan promises all their students a higher score, contrary to which they are eligible for a money-back policy.

Price

The current pricing of the Kaplan online prep lecture is $2299, but you get a discount of $200. So you pay $2299.

The Princeton Review Live Online Classes Review

The Princeton Review, like Kaplan, has recognized the importance of online classes in the prep of the MCAT test.

Currently, due to Covid-19, they have even updated their policy to offer course flexibility to will be enrolling between April 21st May 31st. Check it out here.

The live online classes will give you access to;

Library videos; these are extensively crafted 500+ on-demand videos, which focus on all MCAT content you need to prepare for the test. The good thing about videos is that you can repeat them as much as necessary, which is a plus.

Live Classes; you will gain access to 123 hours of live classroom sessions. This could be in live online with a team of around 4-6 experts. (33hrs-biology, 12hrs- organic chemistry, 18 hrs.-General Chem, 18 hrs. Physics, 21 hrs. Psyc&sociology, 21 hrs.-CARS)

Prep Books; the list of prep books for the online live students is 11, which includes 4 exclusive titles and 7 MCAT Subject-specific review books. All these are well written by experienced and certified tutors, so you can relax knowing you will receive the finest and relevant knowledge.

Intensive Practice; your goal is to gain as much necessary information, right? Well, with thousands of freestanding and passage-based questions, you can be sure to derive a lot.

They come complete with detailed explanations to help you understand why specific answers are wrong and why others are correct.

There’s also a 16 full-length online practice tests

Other resources; include a printable MCAT guide and all the released AAMC material. And of course, you get to use the CARS diagnostic exam, which is necessary to help you discover your strengths and weakness.

It’s only when you understand this that you can place your energy into good use.

Homework; you will have customized homework after every lecture to help you work on your weaker areas, in readiness for the diagnostic exams and the MCAT test.

Med School Advantage; this is access to admission strategies given by the admissions expert to help you understand what the admission committees focus on

Premium; on top of regular course homework, you get top-scorer homework designed for advanced passages, exclusive access to the MCAT Topic Focus, which includes 12+ sessions to improve your weaknesses.

Complete study manager missions for ultimate results. At an extra cost of $500.

Price

Currently, The Princeton Review goes for $2,499, after a discount of $300.

For the MCAT 510+ Guarantee, the price stands at $2,999 after a discount of $400

Company The Princeton Review Kaplan MCAT
   Price         $2499 after a$300 discount $2299 after $200 discount
Video Library 500+ on-demand videos 130 interactive science review videos
Med School Admission Advantage Yes No
Intensive Practice (Passage-based questions, free-standing questions. Detailed answers) Yes Yes
Practice tests 16 full-length online tests 16 full-length realistic practice tests
Homework Yes Yes
Live Classes 123 hours 90 hours
Prep Books 11 7
Study table Yes Yes
Premium Option Yes yes
Guarantee Yes Yes
Extra Resources Yes Yes

Verdict

When we look at the prep books, you stand to get 4 extra books with The Princeton Review, which are more detailed. This beats Kaplan hands down with their 7-book set.

Also, I am impressed with the live classroom session of The Princeton Review, which stands at 123 hours against the 90 hours of Kaplan. This right here is a great difference

Another thing is the on-demand video, which TRP offers 500+ hours of it against the 130 hrs. of Kaplan.

And although Kaplan offers you 12, 3 hours in their premium package, you can also get it at The Princeton Review of course at an extra price of $500.

But, you can still opt out of coaching and gain as much with The Princeton Review. I mean their study plan is on point and the strategies too.

Both companies offer thousands of practice questions and 16-full length practice tests, which is a draw.

And then comes The Princeton Review with the 510+ guarantee, Which gives them the best guarantee gesture against Kaplan’s improved score guarantee.

So, although students have the right to decide which one suits them the best, I think The Princeton Review is the best. Given that their pricing isn’t that exaggerated based on the features they offer.

Kaplan vs. Princeton MCAT In-person Bootcamp

Kaplan MCAT Bootcamp Live-in Person Review

If an online live session isn’t for you, and you happen to live in one of the several cities where Kaplan’s educational centers are situated, then you might as well enroll for the Bootcamp.

While some students do pretty well with the self-paced and live online options, others confess to being motivated more in the presence of a classroom set-up.

But before you jump right into the idea, here are some of the Kaplan’s Live-in-person features and benefits you should look-out for;

A routine schedule; working with a schedule is one of the best ways to be accountable for every minute you spend preparing for the MCAT test.  Kaplan promises to provide you with a routine schedule so that you pick the one that best suits your needs.

Structured Lessons; When you enroll in the Bootcamp sessions, you receive a structure of the lessons you will be undertaking. This will help you keep track of your progress, as you can easily tell which areas you’ve covered and which ones are remaining.

Access to the teacher; this is face-to-face access to the teacher as they will be right there at the front of the classroom. And not any teacher but certified experts.

And do you know what that means? It means you can consult them and they will be readily available to walk with you every step of the way.

This is a sure advantage over those undertaking the online classes. There’s always something special about face to face discussions.

Tailored Content; Once you enroll for the live-in-person classes, you automatically start benefiting from various practice materials, which include 16 full-length practice tests, 2,900+ question Qbank and lots of homework, focus on your strengths and weaknesses.

Prep Books; on top of the tailored content, you will also receive Kaplan’s 7-book subject review set, to help you continue studying even when away from the classroom set-up. There’s also online access to video instructions, though the duration isn’t specified

Practice Exam; as a Bootcamp student, you will benefit from the 5-hour, 45-minute practice exam. And afterward, you will receive a predictive score based on the AAMC test changes. You will be able to access the test online in your resource section, which I find convenient.

Learning hours; the course length for the Kaplan Bootcamp is currently spread over 6 weeks and you stand to benefit from 36 hours of live tutoring sessions.

Price; for this Bootcamp, you will have to part with $2299, which is a discount of $200 down from $2499. You can even save more with the various coupons always on offer.

So, keep checking from time to time.

The Princeton Review MCAT Bootcamp 

The The Princeton Review Bootcamp classroom sessions are similar to those of Kaplan.

And they normally take place in various universities at the designated time. Though I find the list pretty limited.

That aside, when you enroll for the lessons, here is what you should expect;

Certified Teachers; you will be in a live-class session with master instructors with years of teaching experience. They very well understand the MCAT patterns and have dealt with other students before. So, you can at least trust them to unlock your potential.

Routine Schedule; the classes are categorized in various routine schedules to help you pick the one that works best for you. This is a great way of ensuring an account for every session.

With the schedule also comes the structured lessons, which fill-you in on what to expect in the next learning session, so that you prepare yourself psychologically.

Tailored content; you will be undergoing hours of jam-packed live instructions, with the areas of focus being what you need most.  You will receive homework that will help you improve on your weaknesses.

Also, there will be group discussions to help you mingle with others and share what you are good at. This allows you to work on your weaknesses. And better yet, you might end up making lifetime friends with the same passion for healthcare as you.

Best Experience; since the centers for this live lessons are done in top-universities, you will get the chance to experience university life and the hype that comes with it.

This will motivate you to work even harder to secure a place in that medical school you have been eyeing for a while.

Practice Tests; you will access 16 full-length practice tests and various exclusive drills to test your strength. This also includes full access to the AAMC materials. And 8-full-length

Online Video instructions; and to ensure you’re occupied even when away from the classroom, The Princeton Review gives you access to the online instruction videos that are used by their self-paced students.

Guarantee; if at the end of the Bootcamp you aren’t satisfied with the content of the course, you are eligible for a free ultimate course!

Prep books; The Princeton Review promise to offer comprehensive resources for maximum results. And they include 11 MCAT books.

Lesson hours; you get a 510+ guarantee over 6 weeks or less, 32 topic focus lessons, and 79 online-video instructions.

Price; The 6 weeks long intensive leaning will cost you $9,499.

Comparison Table

Company Kaplan MCAT The Princeton Review
Price $2499 $9,499
Discount Save $300 Not indicated
Prep. Books 7 11
Course duration 6 weeks 6 weeks
Live-in person lessons 36 hours Not indicated
Online video instructions Yes ( hours not indicated) 79 hours.
Practice tests 16 full length 16 full length
Multiple experienced tutors Yes Yes
Access to AAMC Materials Yes Yes
Tailored quizzes Yes through Q bank Yes, machine-based learning

Verdict

Kaplan has several educational centers and it gives you a great opportunity to receive solid test prep with their live-in-person classroom sessions.

One thing that stands about them is that they have education centers both in Canada and the USA, while on the other hand, the Bootcamp centers for Princeton are limited to the USA and aren’t many.

You should, however, only think of this option if you’re based near any of the Bootcamp canters.

But if you don’t mind commuting, then this shouldn’t be a problem. To check this out, type your Zip code on these companies’ websites and see if it’s available for you.

When it comes to the learning hours, both Kaplan and The Princeton Review spread their lessons over 6 weeks of intense learning. With Kaplan, their lessons run for 3 hours, making them 36 with the 12 sessions.

There are also some online video instruction sessions, though the number of hours isn’t indicated.

The hours seem sufficient and should help you master the content you need if you put your mind to it.

Like Kaplan, Princeton spreads their Bootcamp over 6 weeks, though they haven’t indicated the hours of the live-in person sessions. Their video instructions, however, cover 79 hours.

Now, the mega difference comes to pricing. Kaplan charge $2499, while Princeton charge $9,499. And although The Princeton Review offers advanced digital prep tools with over 500+ MCAT content lessons, I feel the pricing is still on the higher side to accommodate all students.

Yes, The Princeton Review produces detailed content, which is a great option for individuals who wouldn’t an intense marathon learning and of course are well-moneyed.

Kaplan is accommodating and affordable enough. Plus its materials are well spread out and simplified for better understanding. And that doesn’t make it any less effective.

So, because of this, I think Kaplan takes the crown in the live-in-person category. They have centers all over and their lessons will be up from July 2020, while with The Princeton Review you will have to wait until the 2021 schedule is out.

But as always, it’s you to decide!

Kaplan vs. Princeton Review In MCAT Books

In this section, I am going to take you through the books offered by these two test prep companies. This will help you make a solid decision on which one has your best interest at heart.

Remember it’s the right books and other resources that will determine whether you crack or fail the MCAT test.

Kaplan MCAT test prep Books Set

The test prep books from Kaplan contain a 7-book subject review, which is thoroughly updated to cover the latest MCAT testable materials, in the most accurate manner.

With them comes excellent exam-taking strategies, which will help you tackle the MCAT test with confidence. They also cover general topics and offer 3 full-length online practice tests.

The books are accompanied by full-color 24-page MCAT quick sheets to help you memorize the content.

This also includes charts, graphs, diagrams, and many other illustrations.

Also, this Kaplan set contains summaries on the useful information of each chapter so that you can peruse through them with ease.

And of course, there are the 15 multiple-choice questions to help you test your knowledge at the end of each chapter.

This helps students identify their weak areas and plan to work on them.

The set will cost you around $229.27 and you can spend less than that if you don’t mind getting used ones.

The Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Box Set

Like Kaplan, The Princeton Review (The Princeton Review) also offers 7-set test prep books, complete with 3 online practice tests.

Most students confess that they find the The Princeton Review books are more detailed as compared to the Kaplan ones, and thus you will need a lot of time to go through the content.

The book set is updated often, so you can be sure to receive the best in terms of the latest patterns as per the MCAT test.

At the end of each chapter, there are various questions to help you test your knowledge. You will also find the MCAT-styled practice passages to help you gain a glimpse of what to expect in the MCAT.

Of course, the books contain chapter summaries for a quick review of what awaits you, plus you get to test your test-taking readiness with the available strategic techniques that have worked for thousands of students.

Another feature that I find useful with the The Princeton Review set is the inclusion of the extensive medical terms glossaries, which will help you understand various terms.

If I base my judgment on all these awesome features, then this set should be expensive. Right?

Well, wrong! It actually comes as cheap as $197.62. And even cheaper if you take time to compare sellers for the best deal or even used one.

Comparison Table

Company Kaplan MCAT The Princeton Review
Book set 7 7
Online practice tests Yes Yes
Full-color Illustrations Yes Yes
Full-length tests 3 3
Subject Review General In-depth
Strategic Techniques Yes Yes
Online student tools Yes Yes
Additional Books none 4 (not available to the general public)
Price $229.27 (Amazon) $175.96(Amazon)

Verdict

Before anything else, I would like to advise you to consider getting other supplementary materials to use with these sets. Not minding whichever you purchase.

That said, Kaplan gives you 7 different books, which cover every necessary area of the MCAT test.  However, they use a general approach, which some students find shallow.  But their online reviews contain high scores of 4-5, from many students, so they must be containing useful material.

When it comes to Princeton, according to multiple student reviews, their set is much more detailed than Kaplan’s, complete with mind triggering drills, which reflect the real MCAT test.

Of course, there isn’t much difference in the pricing, but it’s worth mentioning that The Princeton Review is cheaper than Kaplan.

So, because of this and all other features indicated above, I would advise you to go to Princeton if you want budget-friendly books at an affordable price. They also come with 4 book extras, which is a plus.

However, The Princeton Review books are in-depth so you should be ready to spend more time reading for better understanding.

But, if you don’t mind spending some extra bucks and don’t have much time on your side for detailed books, then you will appreciate the simple richly presented Kaplan book set.

As you can see, the choice is still yours and largely depends on your needs.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read this thorough review, I hope that you have a better understanding of these two test prep companies and know what to expect from each of them.

It’s evident that Kaplan has some incredibly good written materials and does pretty well when it comes to live-in-person classroom sessions.

Princeton, on the other hand, is way ahead when it comes to modern technology so it makes a great option for live online courses.

But all this said and done, you have the final choice as both companies are good and promise great results. You only have to find the perfect one to match your current needs.

John Reed
My name is John Reed and I am the chief editor of TestPrepPal.com. I am alumni of university of of Pennsylvania and want to help future graduates with their tests.

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