When talking about MCAT test prep companies, Kaplan is a name you’re bound to hear a lot.
If you ask med students how they prepared for their MCAT, most of them have taken at least one of many prep courses Kaplan offers.
But are they really that good?
I decided to do my research. I talked with med students, checked Kaplan online reviews, and tried out their courses myself.
Today I bring you a detailed Kaplan MCAT course review, so you can decide if this is the MCAT test prep company for you.
What is Kaplan?
Kaplan has been around for more than 80 years . It all started in 1938 when Stanley Kaplan began tutoring students in his parent’s home basement.
Nowadays, Kaplan is one of the biggest educational service providers. They have over 12,000 tutors in 30 countries worldwide.
They offer prep services for many different courses, but today we’ll focus on MCAT. Kaplan has one of the most comprehensive MCAT prep courses out there.
Kaplan’s MCAT prep comes in many options, such as on-demand, live online, in-person.
They also have several different tutoring packages.
Kaplan is present in 43 states in the US, making it easy for students to take classes in person.
Kaplan also has an online platform for students who prefer to study online.
Kaplan MCAT Prep Highlights
These are the biggest benefits of Kaplan's MCAT prep course.
1. Variety of MCAT Prep Courses
The most significant benefit is the variety of courses Kaplan offers.
According to the company’s claim, there are six different MCAT prep course options.
I found this to be true, and I loved the availability of in-person and online versions.
Kaplan offers different prep packages for students to choose from, including:
- On-Demand Course
- Live Online Course
1.) On-demand is their cheapest course, and it comes in two options: on-demand and on-demand plus.
Kaplan says you can do this course at your own speed, which is true.
You can view pre-recorded teacher lessons whenever you’re free, and the personalized study plan lets you know what to study next.
You have complete control over when and how much you study. I found this to be a great option if you need a flexible schedule.
On-demand plus has one-on-one tutoring and extra video lessons.
2.) Next up is a live online course. This one isn’t as flexible. Students have a set schedule of live classes.
This is how it works: a group of students turns in at a set time and watches a tutor give the lesson.
Like on-demand, live online also comes in live online plus, which has personalized homework assignments, among other features.
3.) Next up is the Bootcamp, which lasts for 5 to 6 weeks.
There’s a strict daily schedule, and either one-on-one or tutoring in a small group.
If you’re set on crushing your MCAT score, this could be your best bet.
4.) Finally, there’s an in-person course. If you’re traditional and like the teacher-student classroom format, you’ll love this one.
Here, there’s a teacher who holds you accountable for showing up to class and doing your homework.
To sum up, no matter if you prefer to study at your own pace, online, in-person, or you want a traditional classroom setting, Kaplan’s got you covered.
2. Quality of the Material
Kaplan claims they have the most comprehensive MCAT prep material, and I have to agree.
I found their material to cover every single micro topic that you can find on the MCAT.
As for the online Kaplan prep course for the MCAT, it’s divided into three units.
The first two are content reviews broken into subjects, such as biology, physics, and organic chemistry.
Each subject is further broken down into subtopics, and students get access to video lessons, quizzes, and book assignments.
The third unit is an all-inclusive review and a practice test.
2.1. Review Videos
The online courses have around 130 interactive science review lessons, which were my favorite.
All the key concepts from the books are covered in the videos, and you can watch them at 0.75x, 1x, 1.5x, or 2x speed. Choosing the speed is very helpful.
I was able to go over new material slowly and speed through the material I was familiar with.
130 interactive science review videos can be an excellent choice for visual learners.
Each slide in the video is full of formulas, graphs, drawings, and pictures.
These keep the learner engaged and make it easier to retain the concepts.
I also liked that the video lessons start with the instructor appearing on-screen and describing what the lesson covers before transitioning into the lesson.
It makes the students more engaged from the get-go, and it feels professional.
Overall, the video quality was high, with useful notes and graphics.
Quizzes and book assignments follow the videos, and they serve to reinforce the material.
Moreover, the quizzes aim to gauge how well the student understood and retained the material.
Pro tip: Watch the science review videos before you study the book.
This way, you’ll be better prepared for the textbook material, especially if it’s a completely new topic for you.
Apart from the video lessons, students also get access to Qbank.
The Qbank has about 2,900 practice problems that adapt to each student’s skill level.
The practice questions become easier or more difficult as you progress, based on how well you answer.
I found Qbank practice questions helpful in identifying areas you need to improve on.
An explanation follows each question in the form of text.
The explanations are brief and to the point and help students put together the information they learned instead of memorizing tons of material.
2.3. MCAT Prep Textbook
No matter if you opt for an online or classroom course, Kaplan offers textbooks, also called Subject Review Books.
There are 7 subject review books plus one lesson book, and Kaplan says they contain the latest and most accurate MCAT materials.
I agree that all the information is accurate. The books are extremely thorough, and the explanations are solid.
I especially liked that they include mnemonic devices, which come in handy for remembering lists and processes.
The books are very content-heavy, but every chapter has a summary at the end that lists all the formulas and key vocabulary. This helps learn the information faster.
All in all, it is a well-written resource for test-takers who like to learn via actual books.
3. Kaplan MCAT Practice Tests
The Kaplan MCAT practice test does a good job of getting the students ready for test day.
There are 16 full-length practice tests, which is more than enough to prepare for the exam.
Considering that you need 7+ hours to simulate the actual test, chances are you won’t even go through all 16 full-length practice tests.
I found the Kaplan practice tests to mimic the actual MCAT adequately.
The practice questions are worded similarly, and the platform for practice tests resembles the real MCAT.
One thing to note is that Kaplan’s practice tests are slightly harder than the real test.
I consider this an advantage, as there’s a lower chance you’ll be caught by a difficult question on the MCAT.
4. Tutor-Led Kaplan MCAT prep
I’ve talked a lot about online Kaplan MCAT course prep. Now let's check out the tutor Kaplan prep course.
Kaplan says all of the tutors that teach their courses scored in the 90th percentile.
They also claim they have a selective process and that instructors are extensively trained.
I had a positive experience with the instructors I encountered on Kaplan MCAT prep courses.
The instructors strictly followed the prep course curriculum, which focused on high-yield topics.
They also gave the students some test prep tips and tricks which aren’t included in the book.
Although the instructor leads the MCAT prep course, a lot of time is spent working individually, which helps improve your skills. Also, the students are allowed to ask any questions they have.
5. Kaplan’s Online Platform
The online platform is very functional and easy to use. There’re four main sections at the top of the platform:
- Study plan
- Resources library
- MCAT channel
The platform is well made, and I didn’t have any loading or lagging issues.
The same goes for the part of the platform where the material is.
It has both videos and text-based communication technology.
All classrooms have a whiteboard for tutors to leave notes, which is helpful.
6. MCAT Channel
One final highlight that Kaplan MCAT courses have is the MCAT channel.
Kaplan MCAT channel offers 6 live video lessons a week and more than 90 hours of pre-recorded webcasts.
The videos are very detailed and go more in-depth on specific MCAT topics.
My favorite part is how interactive the MCAT channel lessons are.
There’s an instructor in the upper corner, a digital whiteboard, and a live student chat on the side.
Students can see the notes on the whiteboard and ask questions.
The MCAT channel is another good way to cover subjects you need to know to get into medical school.
Kaplan MCAT Course Pros
- Various MCAT test prep options
- High-quality material
- MCAT channel
- Access to official AAMC practice materials
Kaplan MCAT Course Shortfalls
I’ve talked about why the Kaplan MCAT prep course is good. Now let’s see its shortfalls.
1.) Limited Mobile App
Technically, the Kaplan MCAT prep course does have an app. However, the only thing the app contains is about 1,000 flashcards.
It means you won’t be able to access the prep course on mobile devices.
However, I liked the flashcards. They are high-quality, and they cover a wide range of MCAT test prep topics. Also, it’s a good way to review on the go.
2.) MCAT Prep Course Access Period
Kaplan MCAT course gives you 5 months of access to their courses and online resources.
This isn’t so bad, and considering that AAMC recommends studying for 300 to 350 hours, this should be enough for most students.
However, this may not be enough for busy people, especially for students who combine work and school.
Kaplan MCAT Course Cons
- Course access time could be too short for some students
- The mobile app doesn’t have a full MCAT course access
Real Student Results from Taking the Kaplan MCAT Prep Course
I wanted to see how well real students scored after finishing Kaplan’s MCAT prep.
I asked a group of students to take the MCAT practice test before starting their Kaplan MCAT prep and after finishing it.
I compared the results in all four MCAT sections and calculated the improvement percentage. I discovered that Kaplan’s prep is effective.
The students had significant improvements in their test results after finishing the course.
|Baseline (before taking the course)||After taking the course||% improvement|
Kaplan MCAT Prep Estimates VS. Real Test Scores
I established that real students had success in raising their MCAT scores after finishing Kaplan prep.
Another thing I wanted to check is how good Kaplan prep tests are in predicting the actual MCAT score.
Once again, I surveyed several students. I asked them to complete a Kaplan practice test and tell me the results. Then I asked them for their results after taking the MCAT exam.
Here’s what I found out:
|Before (test score predictor)||Real MCAT test score||% accuracy|
I concluded that Kaplan’s test is more difficult compared to the real MCAT.
All students I surveyed achieved a higher score on the real MCAT than on Kaplan’s prep test.
It’s a good thing that Kaplan’s test is slightly more difficult, as this will help you tackle even the most difficult questions, and you’ll be prepared for the toughest part of the MCAT.
Comparison to Other MCAT Courses
Compared to other courses, Kaplan’s MCAT has some pros and cons.
The main con is the price. Kaplan is on the expensive side, and you have to pay a couple of thousand dollars, whereas Magoosh, for example, is much more affordable.
Magoosh MCAT also offers top-notch mobile apps, which give you access to study materials. I've mentioned that Kaplan's MCAT app doesn’t offer this.
The Princeton Review MCAT offers similar prices as Kaplan.
They also have a Bootcamp course. However, they offer four courses, which is two less than Kaplan.
Finally, there are the Blueprint MCAT courses. The Blueprint also offers a Qbank, which has more than 4,000 practice questions.
While this sounds impressive, what are the chances of going over that many practice questions?
Also, Blueprint offers 15 practice exams, while Kaplan’s MCAT prep includes 16 full-length practice tests.
Other MCAT Courses We've Reviewed:
Kaplan MCAT Test Prep Cost
As mentioned, Kaplan has several MCAT prep options, all of which give solid MCAT foundations.
Here’s the price breakdown for each MCAT test prep course:
- On-demand $1799
- On-demand plus $2299
- Live online $2499
- Live online plus $2999
- Bootcamp $6999
- In-person $2899
Kaplan’s MCAT preparation also offers some additional resources:
- Qbank $199
- 3-pack practice test $179
- Gold practice bundle $329
- Platinum practice bundle $449
Kaplan courses have five months of access. The courses also come with a higher score guarantee, which has certain requirements.
If you’re a first-time Kaplan student, you can provide your previous MCAT score or complete a Kaplan proctored diagnostic.
Then, after taking the official test, if your score is lower, you have 60 days to contact Kaplan.
You can choose between getting your money back or reactivating your account for additional 12 weeks.
Even if you scored higher than the baseline but aren’t satisfied with your score, you can also ask to continue your studies for free for 12 weeks.
One other thing worth mentioning is Kaplan’s refund policy.
If you aren’t satisfied with their MCAT experts or the course, Kaplan offers a 100% refund up to three days after the purchase.
In case you change your mind 4 to 7 days after purchase, you’ll get 75% of your money back.
Note: This usually doesn’t apply to the Bootcamp program or the shipping cost of the hard copy books (which you have to return).
Other Users’ Experience
Kathy J. from Nevada
In her review, Kathy said that she loved the high-quality study materials, especially the 7 Subject review books.
They gave her the information to quickly recall the subjects yet were thorough and had questions after each chapter.
The questions tested the knowledge, and there were detailed explanations saying why the answer was right or wrong.
Jack D. from Louisiana
Jack liked Kaplan’s private tutoring and practice tests. He liked the undivided attention he got from one-on-one tutoring of this test prep course and the ability to ask any questions he had.
He also says the tests do a good job mimicking AAMC practice tests, even though they are slightly more rigorous.
Mary N. from Arizona
Mary said she liked the higher score guarantee the test prep comes with. She found MCAT live online classes, review material, and simulated exams extremely valuable.
According to her, Kaplan is the place to get all the resources you need to get ready for the actual exam.
Is Kaplan MCAT Test Prep Worth It?
Yes, Kaplan MCAT test prep is worth it. It gives excellent MCAT foundations, the ability to choose between private tutoring, online or live online classes, and high-quality materials.
How Long Is the Kaplan MCAT Course?
Kaplan MCAT course is 500 to 700 hours long. It offers total instruction and practice, and you have 5 months of access to MCAT courses.
Is the Kaplan MCAT Diagnostic Test Harder Than the Real MCAT?
Yes, the Kaplan MCAT diagnostic test is harder than the real MCAT and the AAMC practice tests.
It’s a good way to get ready even for the hardest questions.
You can expect that your score will be about 10 points higher than on the Kaplan test.
Who are Kaplan MCAT Tutors?
Each Kaplan MCAT tutor is a person who took the MCAT and scored in the 90th percentile or above.
What Is Included in the Kaplan MCAT Course?
Every Kaplan MCAT course includes 16 practice tests, 8 books, Qbank, and up to 700 hours of practice and study time.
It is available either as one-on-one tutoring, in a group, or self-study.
Should You Buy Kaplan MCAT Course?
Kaplan justified their reputation as one of the best MCAT prep companies. Kaplan’s MCAT course is one of the highest-scored MCAT courses I’ve reviewed, and I’ve tried my fair share of them.
If you want to go to medical school, Kaplan will give you excellent MCAT foundations, which will make your studies easier later on.
Whether you opt for self-study or live online classes, you'll have high-quality material that covers every topic that can be featured on the MCAT.
The live online classes are held by expert tutors who can share their experiences and give you useful tips and tricks.
Click here to check out the Kaplan MCAT course and start your MCAT journey.