Kaplan MCAT Prep Review

You'll have everything you need to prepare for test day

Kaplan

Kaplan

A well-known provider of educational services, Kaplan’s MCAT Prep Review 2019 was a service we simply had to try for ourselves. This self-paced course provides an exhaustive, almost overwhelming, review of the material tested on the MCAT. Course material is reviewed in conjunction with test-taking tips and strategies, with each unit covering several chapters from each subject. Students may choose to review MCAT foundations in biochemistry and behavioral sciences before beginning the course, or they may jump right into the first unit. The program is highly customizable based on individual needs and the results of self-assessments scattered throughout. Pricing starts at $49+ for stand-alone resources to $1,799 to $2,299 for the complete course, depending on which option you select.

Pros Cons
  • Excellent review materials through books and numerous assessments
  • Results-centered feedback to highlight review needs
  • Easy and convenient mobility
  • Affordable review tools are available separately from the full course
  • High cost of full course may be prohibitive to some
  • High cost of full course may be prohibitive to some

What’s Included

This self-paced course at $1,799 contains everything needed for a complete review of the material covered on the MCAT, including advice on test-taking strategies and practice problems modeled directly from the MCAT. Students will use nine books structured through an online course in order to master the concepts. There are over 120 hours of instruction available through the online portal organized between Foundation Reviews in Biochemistry and Behavioral Sciences and three Units that cover all topics augmented with sections on test-taking strategies. Students will assess their review with over 100 hours of practice tests formatted after the MCAT exam. All in all, there are over 500 hours worth of practice and instruction included in this program. The Adaptive Qbank is a useful tool that allows students to easily find where improvements can be made. Additionally, the course is highly mobile through the use of apps and ebooks.

Kaplan
Kaplan

Print Resources

Nine full-length books provide all of the background information to review for the MCAT, which includes their seven Subject Review Books. These nine books are: MCAT Behavioral Sciences Review, MCAT Biology Review, MCAT General Chemistry Review, MCAT Organic Chemistry Review, MCAT Biochemistry Review, MCAT Physic and Math Review, MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Review, MCAT High Yield Science: Solutions and Extra Practice, and MCAT Prep Lesson Book. The Lesson Book is designed specifically to accompany the three Units of the course available online. There is also an MCAT Quicksheets booklet for a convenient reference to fundamental science concepts.

Kaplan even provides a laminated Noteboard Booklet (with dry erase marker) that is similar to what the test-taker will have on test day. A unique and useful feature of these books is that certain sections are highlighted as “High-Yield” in the table of contents. These sections are especially important to master as they contain the information likely to be tested most prevalently on the MCAT, yielding maximum results from knowing these concepts in particular. There are digital versions of these books available as Adobe Digital Edition ebooks, making mobile studying convenient.

Assessments and Full-Length Practice Tests

This course provides ample opportunity to gauge student progress. There are 20+ hours of Kaplan Section Tests that assess performance throughout the course, and are used to generate a SmartReport. Based on the student’s aggregate results from the course’s assessment tools, SmartReports will provide study recommendations. Each question comes with a detailed explanation for the answer to help guide further review. With 15 full-length MCAT practice tests, students will be well-prepared for test day.

Adaptive Qbank

Containing more than 2,000 questions, the Adaptive Qbank allows the student to prepare their own assessments through the creation of adaptive quizzes. Students can select which topics to test and what kinds of questions to see. The Qbank is designed to continually challenge the student at their own skill level and will include recommendations on what areas to study next.

Pre-Recorded Video Lessons

There are numerous hours of pre-recorded video lessons that are used to enhance the student’s self-paced review. The online portal offers a full course review in video format for the biochemistry and behavioral science sections (in the MCAT Foundations section). In Units 1-3, however, videos are limited to the review of a few select high-yield science lessons only. For an additional price, students can gain access to Kaplan’s MCAT Channel that includes 90+ teacher-led sessions (live or on-demand) and three hours of 1-on-1 coaching. Or, students may access the AAMC resources that includes access to the Khan Academy MCAT Collection of teaching videos.

Kaplan
Kaplan

Additional Resources

The course includes not only specific resources to guide the review process, but also resources meant to provide invaluable information about the medical school admissions process, including the essay, the interview, etc. The Kaplan course is also linked to official AAMC study resources for additional review, with even more full-length practice and subject matter Question Packs. There is also access to the Khan Academy MCAT Collection video series, providing additional learning opportunities and review.

MCAT Flashcards by Kaplan App

Kaplan offers a set of 1,000 flashcards for Android and iOS systems. This app is included in the self-paced courses, but it can also be purchased for $34.99 as a standalone product. A free trial version with 50 flashcards is available. You can customize your deck based on subject matter, tracking if you know the material or not. The flashcards are largely vocabulary-definition in format.

Kaplan Mobile Prep App

For further mobile convenience, Kaplan offers an app that synches with the online portal to continue right where you left off. The app in general does not have outstanding reviews, but we encountered none of the difficulties nor issues mentioned. It offers a simple way to permit review whenever the chance may arise.

Kaplan
Kaplan

Higher Score Guarantee

If you don’t receive a higher score on your MCAT after this course, you can get a full refund on the price of the course, or you can get an extension (12-weeks) to continue studying for the student’s next MCAT exam. If the student has never taken the MCAT before, the student will be required to sit for a Kaplan proctored diagnostic exam. If the score was higher than the baseline score, the student can’t get their money back. But, if unhappy with the score and wishing to take the MCAT again, the student can still obtain the free course extension offer.

Pricing

Kaplan offers a large selection of MCAT prep options, including teacher-taught classes and personal tutors. For our review, we have limited the plans to self-guided options only. Students can customize their prep efforts for as little as $49/month, or opt for a full online course beginning at $1,799.

Kaplan’s Adaptive Qbank

Price: $49/month ($199 for six months)

Includes: Access to Kaplan’s Adaptive Qbank with over 2,000 questions to assess your MCAT strengths and weaknesses.

Kaplan’s Practice Test Pack

Price: $179-$399 

Includes: Three full-length practice MCAT exams are available for $179. You can add a six-month subscription to Kaplan’s Adaptive Qbank for $249. At $399, you will be provided with six full-length practice exams, the Qbank subscription, and seven Subject Review Books.

Kaplan’s Self-Paced MCAT Prep

Price: $1,799-$2,299

Includes: Basic includes access to the online portal with Adaptive Qbank, 15 full-length practice exams, MCAT Mobile Prep app, MCAT Flashcard app, nine print books (including the 7-book Subject Review Books), Noteboard Booklet with dry erase marker, a number of medical school admissions resources, and access to study resources through the AAMC. For an additional cost, access to 90+ teacher-led sessions (live and on-demand) on Kaplan’s MCAT channel is available along with three hours of 1-on-1 coaching. 

Kaplan’s Strengths

Kaplan’s MCAT Prep Review course is expertly designed and uses a variety of adaptive pedagogical methodologies for maximum impact, surely one of the program’s greatest strengths. 

Subject Review Books

These books are well written and provide the content knowledge necessary to succeed on the MCAT exam. High-Yield Science sections are denoted in the table of contents. These contain concepts that are certain to be extensively tested on the MCAT, assuring students don’t spend too much time reviewing concepts that may provide minimal return for the effort.

Multiple Assessments

The Adaptive Qbank with more than 2,000 questions is a valuable assessment tool in preparing for the MCAT. Quizzes can be created that are relevant to the student’s needs, providing challenging questions at their own skill level. The Qbank will provide recommendations on how to proceed with content review. These along with section reviews and other in-course assessments are used to produce a SmartReport that highlights the specific strengths and weaknesses of the student. Detailed explanations are given for each question. There are 15 full-length MCAT practice exams that provide more than ample test-day preparation.

Mobile Learning

Lugging around 20 pounds of books and a laptop does not exactly encourage review on the go, but Kaplan provides some realistic mobile options. The books are available in digital format in addition to the print versions, and the online course can easily be accessed through the Kaplan Mobile Prep app. For additional mobile review, a flashcard app with 1,000 flashcards is also available.

Kaplan’s Weaknesses

While expertly designed, the Kaplan MCAT Prep Review course has a learning-curve to fully take advantage of all of its features, and the way it’s organized may leave some students scratching their heads.

Course Organization

The largest drawback to Kaplan is the amount of material available for review. Coupled with a confusing organizational layout, the course is borderline overwhelming. But, with some patience and practice with the system, the student should be able to figure out the best way to use the course for their review needs. In particular, the three Unit reviews seem to be nearly randomly organized, with no apparent rhyme or reason as to what material is selected for Before Class work and the chapters for After Class work. Students who prefer a linear review of topics will not get that with this course. It appears that the organization is possibly meant in part to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the MCAT and its questions. Regardless, the course organization can be jolting and take time to get used to.

Repetitive Questions 

The Kaplan course we reviewed does not lack in assessment tools. The questions cover all skills levels from basic to advanced, and both discrete standalone questions and passage-based questions are utilized. However, students may sometimes feel as if they have seen a particular question before, and they likely have. Despite the repetitive use of some questions, the diversity and magnitude of questions available still provide more than enough opportunity for adequate review. 

Kaplan
Kaplan

Kaplan vs. AAMC

The AAMC Official MCAT Prep Complete Bundle is included with the Kaplan MCAT Prep Review course, so students who purchase Kaplan will also have access to the AAMC course. Students can certainly save money and purchase the AAMC bundle alone, but Kaplan offers several distinct advantages that may make it worth the extra cost. The AAMC bundle is a pure prep-only type of package. You work through problems and practice exams, but the program itself offers no real guided review of content knowledge.

The bundle does, however, include access to the Khan Academy MCAT Collection, offering 1,100 videos and 3,000 review questions for study. This is a great feature, but the content is offered only in video format with no textbooks or other study materials. The content is also presented in a direct format without necessarily making it MCAT relevant.

Kaplan offers the advantage of making the content review more MCAT relevant with, for example, their High-Yield Science sections and results-driven adaptive learning. Kaplan provides useful test-taking strategies and advice as well. There is also a combined focus of review and assessment with Kaplan, whereas the AAMC package uses a question-based approach for review.

For students seeking exposure to MCAT-style questions without the need for extensive content review, the AAMC package is a great option. It’s a very simple, straight-forward program. But, if students wish for a more structured, comprehensive review course, Kaplan is likely the better choice.

Kaplan
Kaplan

Final Verdict

For students wanting a complete, thorough review for the MCAT exam, this program certainly provides that. As a self-paced course, it is best-suited for the driven, self-motivated student. If a student requires a more structured learning environment, an instructor-led course may be a better fit. While the organization can be somewhat intimidating, and the amount of review material bordering on excessive, a serious and devoted student can’t go wrong with this course. 

Sign up for the Kaplan MCAT Prep Course.