Saturday, May 9, 2015

Kaplan MCAT Prep v. DIY

On various forums, the question seems to get asked a lot about why paying $2,000 to Kaplan vs. just simply buying the books has any value.

** DISCLAIMER**

I am NOT a Kaplan instructor nor am I employed by Kaplan.  Last, Kaplan is not my client.

**END DISCLAIMER**

Okay, so all that said, why did I pay $2k for Kaplan and what have I found out?

Back in August 2014, a little quick kick in the butt from my cousin got me thinking about the MCAT. That dreaded "B" in biochem had killed my dream and sucked the wind out of my sails.  I gave up.  No gas in the tank so to speak.

The cousin.  More like a sister I never had; I respect her opinion greatly.

Take the MCAT, she said.  Screw that "B" ... damn premeds she uttered under her breath :)

The only way I would do well on the MCAT was a prep course.  I had the EK books ... and over the years had perused them to no great use.

Choking on the cost of Kaplan, they made it easy.  Three payments of $600 or so.  Monthly.  I could do that.  Checking the little box, I enrolled.

Then came that diagnostic.  Everyone who has ever taken the diagnostic for any of the prep companies or AAMC groans loudly.  The diagnostics are hard.  REALLY hard and deflating if you think that way... OR

They are really good at pointing out flaws in the skill sets and knowledge.  Areas to work on.  I liked that.

First session for the old MCAT was interesting.  I was motivated, engaged and raring to go.  Let's get this MCAT party started (with Pink in my head).

Then I found flex sessions that focused more intently on areas that Kaplan had found were useful for pre-meds going into the MCAT... the sessions provided greater in-depth understanding of the concepts tested in prior years on the MCAT.

I loved them.  Class?  Not so much.  There was only so much I could handle from pre-meds who don't do the work asking, "How does velocity relate to acceleration?"  or "why do we care about bond angles" (we do as do the megagazillion pharma industry peeps).

Anyway... I did not sit for my 1/20/15 MCAT.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas and work and ... I canceled my seat.  And asked Kaplan to use the guarantee to put me into a class for the 2015 MCAT.

The class is slightly different but still very helpful.  For purposes of NOT getting sued by Kaplan I won't say why the classes are so helpful but I will say this:

a common theme in our on-line classes is that non-prep course taking premeds will likely get tripped up on some things in the actual exam that Kaplan (and presumably Princeton) take great pride in helping the paying students avoid.

And I will say this - without fear of retribution from Kaplan - we do very little content review.  It's expected you have read the books and done the homework before class (just like in school).  The class is all about applying the knowledge.

So, if you bought the books thinking that you're getting the same materials and learning components for $175 that I did for $2k, you are not.

Time will tell if the extra $1800 paid off or not but at this point, with the questions I see on various forums, I can say that I feel more and more confident that Kaplan's classes and instructors will have prepared me far better than I could have on my own.

Plus, by the time any pays for the AAMC practice tests and packages and TBR and everything else, the only difference is about $300 ...

Good luck to everyone taking the MCAT and applying this cycle.  I hope to see many/all of us on the "ADMIT MS 1 Class 2020" in a few months.

1 comment:

Slamdunk said...

Glad you are doing everything possible to prepare. June will be in the rearview mirror before too long.

I am cheering for you, and nice to see you writing again my friend!