Today we take a look at two of the most notable MCAT prep courses out there in 2023: Kaplan MCAT vs Prep101.
We took a look at the two prep courses in order to compare them and see which one of them is right for you.
Let’s jump right into it!
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Offers the most full-length practice exams of any MCAT prep course.
Includes a personal MCAT coach.
Places a particular emphasis on CARS.
Does not offer a higher score or money-back guarantee.
Table of Contents
Prep101 MCAT Vs. Kaplan MCAT Comparison Table
From $1,999 to $3,299
6 Months, With Unlimited Repeats
From 6 Months
Live Online Instruction
No. Of Lessons
Flexible Class Scheduling?
On-Demand Video Lessons
Full-Length Practice Tests
Personalized Study Schedule?
Personalized Homework Assignments?
Personal MCAT Coach
Integrates Official AAMC Practice Material?
Prep101 MCAT Vs. Kaplan MCAT Overview
Having been in operation since 1999, Prep101 offers a very thorough MCAT course comprising plenty of study materials and resources from various sources.
This prep course is particularly focused on guided practice, whereby the expert instructors diligently and tactfully guide students on the tactics and strategies to use to master the MCAT. Ideally, you are taught how to think for this particular test.
The paid Prep101 MCAT subscription offers two course options: Classroom Plus and Live Online Flex. Essentially, both options offer a hybrid course format whereby classes are offered in-person + live online + recorded for on-demand access.
Kaplan is a similarly comprehensive MCAT test prep company guaranteeing you the structure and guidance you need to ace the MCAT.
You have the option of choosing from five Kaplan MCAT prep courses: On Demand, Live Online, In Person, Private Tutoring + Live online, or the Bootcamp course.
Whichever course format you choose, you still get access to a full MCAT prep course, all resources included.
Prep101 MCAT Vs. Kaplan MCAT Detailed Comparison In 2023
Kaplan MCAT will cost you extra if you wish to have longer access to the course materials. Prep101 provides 6-month access to its resources, renewable at no extra cost.
Upon starting the course, you will have 6-month access to Prep101’s on-demand recordings, annotated notes, and most portal features.
Should you make use of the unlimited repeat policy whereby you wish to repeat a future prep course, you won’t have access to the student portal and its resources until a week before the course starts.
Once the course starts though, then you will gain access to the on-demand recordings as the classes take place.
So although the Prep101 MCAT course has an unlimited repeat policy, it doesn’t mean that you will have 24/7 access to the student portal indefinitely.
On the other hand, Kaplan offers students the option of choosing the access length that works for them. You could go with a 6-, 9-, or 12-month access period, depending on how much time you would like to access the course resources.
Of course, keep in mind that all 3 access lengths come at different prices, meaning you’ll pay more if you wish to have longer access to the Kaplan MCAT study resources.
Prep101 and Kaplan both have more or less the same live online course duration of about 12 weeks, which is 3 months.
The Prep101 MCAT course comprises 138 hours of live instruction, consisting of 44 lessons, spread over 11 weeks.
On the other hand, Kaplan’s live online class sessions comprise 14 scheduled classes, each being 3 hours long. These classes are delivered over 1-3 months.
Flexible Class Schedules
Prep101’s Live Online Flex course offers each live online class 4 times weekly: weekday morning, weekday afternoon, weekday evening, and weeknight.
This way, students have diverse options to choose from based on their availability, so you get to join the class that’s more convenient for them. You can even repeat a class should you wish to reinforce the particular concept being taught.
Better yet, even if you miss all 4 options, you can still access a recording of that specific live class, so you get all caught up.
Kaplan teaches multiple live online and in-person class sessions throughout the year, so you can easily sign up for the study period that works for you.
The big difference here is that while Prep101 offers multiple timings of the same class, Kaplan doesn’t quite do the same; you only have one class scheduled.
So the Prep101 MCAT course is preferable when it comes to the flexibility of attending a class at different times based on your availability.
Kaplan’s class scheduling flexibility comes in, whereby the live course is offered multiple times throughout the year, so you can choose to start the course in April or July. Then again, Prep101 MCAT also offers the same.
Prep101’s classroom prep course and online prep course both cost the same and offer the same features, the only difference being the classroom setting.
Nevertheless, students can easily switch from in-classroom prep to online prep and vice versa by simply contacting the test prep company.
On the other hand, Kaplan’s five prep course options all come at different prices and with different offerings, so you cannot make the switch from one format to the other. You have to stick with the course option you picked and paid for.
In this regard, Prep101 wins for having a more flexible course format, giving you more value for your money even when you decide to switch learning methods at some point during your study period.
Prep101 and Kaplan both offer excellent MCAT guided practice, equipping you with great advice and strategies on how to tackle different questions and passages.
Prep101 dedicates quite a number of hours to guided practice in the form of in-class exams and workshops.
The expert instructors walk you through 6-8 passages during every class time, training you how to map and analyze passages, dissect and simplify question stems, and attack answer choices with confidence.
You get a ton of guided practice in the CARS workshops containing over 1,200 CARS passages, complete with guidance from a highly knowledgeable instructor.
The best part, though, has got to be that Prep101 has 166 on-demand videos of their instructors solving the AAMC question packs and the section banks. This allows you to have a very comprehensive understanding of the AAMC material, extending beyond just practice.
Kaplan offers plenty of guided practice as well, included even in the self-study on-demand course.
Offering unlimited live online workshops, the experienced instructors guide students through questions and passages, giving them the necessary strategies for tackling different sections.
You have 3 teachers present to answer questions, which is pretty impressive.
At the same time, there are also office hours whereby you can approach the teachers with any questions.
Official AAMC Practice Material
Ordinarily, students buy the AAMC practice material separately, so Prep101 and Kaplan, including these resources in their MCAT courses, is quite the sweet deal.
The official AAMC materials for the MCAT comprise 6 question packs, a section bank, 5 full-length practice exams, the official guide questions, flashcards, old AAMC tests, and the CARS diagnostic tool.
A Prep101 MCAT subscription includes access to the 5 AAMC practice tests, 6 question packs, the section bank, and the CARS diagnostic tool.
On the other hand, any Kaplan MCAT subscription includes access to all the AAMC study materials available on the platform.
Practice Tests & Questions
While Kaplan offers better practice in terms of the quantity and quality of their practice questions, Prep101 has the advantage of compiling practice tests from a variety of sources, thereby eliminating testing bias.
The best way to guarantee a higher score on test day is to take the MCAT as many times as possible through practice exams and tackling many practice questions.
The Prep101 MCAT course includes about 2,300+ practice questions, including in-class exams and after-class practice sets.
Kaplan’s question bank comprises 3,000+ practice questions.
Not only that, but Kaplan also offers students the option of creating their own customized tests by filtering questions by topics and subtopics. These custom tests could be as long or as short as you need them to be based on your particular study needs.
Prep101 has 20 full-length exams, while Kaplan has 17.
What’s great, though, is that Prep101’s tests come from various sources, namely the AAMC, Altius, and Examakrackers. These exams come complete with score reports, analytics, and video reviews, respectively.
The good thing about compiling practice tests from a variety of sources is that it eliminates testing bias that can come with using just one resource to study for the MCAT.
So with Prep101, you can rest assured that each practice exam is different from the other with regard to content, wording, questions structure, format, etc.
In addition, the Altius exams, in particular, are of excellent quality, second only to the AAMC exams. These realistic tests are representative of the actual exam, far more than the Kaplan ones.
MCAT Books & Study Guides
Prep101 provides 13 MCAT books: 6 Examkrackers study guides, 6 Prep101 classroom companions, and 1 Examkrackers CARS workbook. Kaplan has 7 MCAT books.
While the Examkrackers books are more concise, allowing you to cover your content review in a shorter time, the Kaplan books are much more detailed and better suited for pre-med students who’ve been away from school for a while and perhaps need a deeper dive into the MCAT subjects and topics.
Examkrackers is famous for its 101 Passages book which is an invaluable resource for CARS.
The Prep101 classroom companions are filled with detailed notes, and there’s enough margin space to allow you to add your own notes and scribbles as you go, so that’s quite handy.
One incredible feature that comes with the Prep101 MCAT course is the annotated lecture notes.
These are essentially detailed yet concise notes that the instructors themselves have compiled and structured for the students. The notes contain helpful, high-yield information based on the instructors’ judgment, experience, and expertise.
Ideally, annotated lecture notes not only help you to fill any gaps in your content review but also direct you on where to focus to make optimum use of your study time.
A Kaplan MCAT subscription comes with a score guarantee, which is great to provide you with some peace of mind when signing up for the course.
Prep101 MCAT doesn’t offer any guarantees. However, the course does come with an unlimited free repeat policy whereby you can take the course again at no extra charge, should you wish to do so.
The advantage of this free repeat policy is that you can start prepping for the MCAT earlier instead of putting it off till the last minute.
For instance, you could take the Prep101 MCAT course for the first time in the summer after your first year, then retake it in the summer after your second year and ace the MCAT!
Verdict: Which One Is Better?
Both Prep101 and Kaplan offer stellar MCAT courses well worth your consideration.
On the one hand, Prep101 has the upper hand in that they offer way more class time, providing 138 hours of live instruction, in contrast to Kaplan’s 42 hours.
Additionally, Prep101 pairs each student with a personal MCAT coach to keep you focused and motivated and offer direction on how to go about your study sessions. This is a pretty neat feature.
You also have the annotated lecture notes and the fact that Prep101 offers far more practice exams than Kaplan. Additionally, Prep101 is simply much better for CARS.
Lastly, let’s not forget that Prep101 not only includes access to official AAMC practice material but also, there are 166 on-demand videos of their instructors solving the AAMC question packs and section bank.
This is extremely helpful and something you don’t find in any other MCAT course.
Kaplan has the upper hand in that they offer unlimited live online workshops, including nightly webinar sessions for students who aren’t available during the daytime.
These interactive workshops essentially take a deep dive into various MCAT sections and topics, and there is even a Q & A session where students can seek any clarifications.
Also, the series of explanations videos provided by Kaplan is quite comprehensive. Not to mention that the videos are far more engaging than the solution videos offered by Prep101.
Kaplan’s performance analytics are also far superior, helping you know exactly where your weaknesses lie and highlighting your answer-changing habits, so you can better understand your thinking process and exactly what you are doing wrong or right.
So which one has a better MCAT course: Kaplan or Prep101?
Well, Prep101 offers a far more intense MCAT course. Their live classes go deeper, and they provide a ton of material for content review. Not to mention also, the fact that they compile materials from a variety of sources is a huge win for the test prep company.
They also offer a better practice test bundle, and their MCAT coaching is guaranteed to be just the secret weapon you need to ace the exam, proving that Prep101 MCAT is a far more effective course than Kaplan.
Prep101 MCAT Vs. Kaplan MCAT FAQs
Which Is Better For MCAT: Prep101 Or Kaplan?
Based on the quality and quantity of study materials, I’d say that Prep101 is better for MCAT than Kaplan.
The Prep101 course is thorough and comprehensive, offering students immense learning flexibility while still providing excellent guidance via the personal MCAT coach.
Which One Has Better MCAT Tutors: Prep101 Or Kaplan?
Prep101 has better tutors, and that’s because they take a ‘student first’ approach.
With this approach, the students not only get to select the tutors based on who’s more engaging and knowledgeable, but they also rate and evaluate the tutors’ performance and these reviews are displayed alongside the instructors’ biographies on the Prep101 website.
Is Prep101 Enough For MCAT Prep?
Yes, Prep101 is more than enough for MCAT prep.
This intensive course provides a very intense workload guaranteed to eliminate any content gaps and provide you with a ton of excellent MCAT practice.