Is the Princeton Review MCAT the best MCAT prep course?

Wonder

The Princeton Review MCAT is a big name MCAT prep course. You're definitely going to get high quality teachers and materials through their program. As far as whether this or Kaplan MCAT or another course will be your best choice, it really depends on how you learn.

You'll find my reviews of their courses below, but the short and sweet answer is that Princeton MCAT is your best bet if you learn best with in class time and one-on-one attention. You'll get about double the amount of in class time compared to Kaplan as well as 20 hours of private tutoring, which is a great deal and something you won't find with any other program. If this fits you, click here to visit Princeton Review MCAT's site. You'll also have access to exclusive discounts when you use the code Insider150 ($150 off!).

Bonus!

As an added bonus, if you buy a Princeton Review prep course and use the code Insider150, I will send you free copies of my eBooks 10 Steps to Accepted- An Insider's Guide to Getting Into Medical School and Succeeding in Medical School- How I Landed My Top Choice Residency.

In these you'll find my insider tips from my experience on the UCLA admissions committee on what it takes to get into a top medical school. You'll also learn the tricks I used to ace your USMLE's and land your top choice residency.

Just click on any Princeton Review link or banner on this or any other page on the site, use the code Insider150, then once you make your purchase, email me through the contact page here. I'll email you the books right away!

Princeton Review

P.S. If you'd rather see a video review, check out my YouTube video here.


Teachers

For the Princeton MCAT as with the Kaplan MCAT, you will find students who have done well on certain sections of the MCAT as your instructors. This course is slightly more transparent about their hiring policies, explaining the selection process as having a "subject knowledge screening test, teaching audition and vigorous training process." Overall, the teachers you get in both will be pretty similar, although some say that Princeton Review goes into a little more detail than Kaplan.

The Process

You'll start with a practice test so that you can have a baseline for Princeton Review's higher score guarantee. This is explained below. After this, you'll participate generally in a three month program that will cover all the information you need to know to score your absolute highest on the MCAT. As I mentioned earlier, you'll have a lot of class and one-on-one time with Princeton MCAT compared to other programs. For more details about the MCAT in general, click here.


Options, Packages and Prices

Similar to Kaplan, Princeton Review offers three main types of programs. You can choose from in-person options where you'll be in a classroom with a teacher and other students, online options where you'll attend lectures online, and one partial program that just focuses on verbal reasoning.


In-Person Options

These MCAT prep courses options are good choices if you learn better in a traditional classroom setting where you are physically with other students and your teacher.

Included in your resources for any of these courses are all 8 AAMC practice tests and 11 Princeton Review practice tests, which is definitely important.

MCAT Classroom Course. $2099.

This Princeton Review MCAT course is similar to the Kaplan MCAT prep course. You will have classroom instruction supplemented with review materials. You will attend class at a center near you.

What you get

105 hours of classroom instruction in 40+ sessions, 22.5 hours of verbal prep (the most of any other MCAT prep course), 19 full-length practice tests (including the 8 AAMC practice tests), 20+ hours of one-on-one office hour time, 150+ hours of online drills, and 5 full length diagnostic tests. You'll also get a lot of printed material. Specifically, you'll get (from Princeton Review's website):

  • 3,000+ pages of comprehensive, up–to–date materials (delivered via forklift). Each subject set includes content review, practice questions and practice passages
  • MCAT Physics and Math Review: Close to 500 pages
  • MCAT General Chemistry Review: More than 300 pages
  • MCAT Biology Review: 500+ pages
  • MCAT Organic Chemistry Review: In excess of 300 pages
  • MCAT Verbal Reasoning Review: 400+ pages with a section to diagnose areas of weaknesses and refine strategies to improve
  • Science Workbook, hundreds of MCAT–style practice passages and questions with complete explanations (900+ pages)
  • Verbal Workbook,about 300 pages, including dozens of MCAT practice passages and four full–length Verbal Reasoning practice tests with complete explanations
  • In–Class Passage Compendium, the equivalent of five MCATs' worth of additional test questions
  • Science Review Questions and Solutions, hundreds of practice questions designed to make sure that the basic science concepts are firmly embedded in your brain.

Probably the biggest distinctions here between Kaplan MCAT and Princeton Review MCAT are the 20+ hours of one-on-one time included in the price. You'd be paying several thousand dollars for that same amount of one-on-one time with Kaplan.

You'll also get 3,000+ pages of content review with practice questions, 900+ pages of MCAT questions with detailed explanations, hundreds of practice questions, LiveGrader access who gives you feedback on your MCAT essay.

This means you'll have books with content review to study along with the lectures, which is different from Kaplan which relies mainly on their lectures and online materials.

Princeton Review has also added a new application to help you learn your material, called amplifire. This is essentially a computer program that has you answer questions, but also allows you to choose whether you are certain or not about your answer. According to their video here, this helps activate more of your brain so that you store the material you learn in your long term memory. Amplifire has 2,700 practice questions.

The questions are taken from the review materials you receive as part of the course. It also customizes the questions as you go so that you are reviewing material you don't know instead of material you already know.

Princeton Review

Princeton Review MCAT Small Group Instruction. $2999.

This Princeton Review MCAT course is an option that Kaplan does not offer. It's a nice hybrid of the class structure and individual attention.

It's particularly attractive for students who want more individualized attention. Small groups are limited to only 4 students. This means that you will have plenty of individual attention from your instructors.

You will have 48 hours of live instruction, 19 practice MCATs, and extensive personal feedback. You'll also have access to the same materials as Princeton Review MCAT classroom course.

Ulitmate MCAT. $7,999 in Austin, TX. $8,499 in San Diego.

A pretty shameless copy of the original Kaplan Summer Intensive, this is a "6 week summer bootcamp" structured in a similar fashion to Kaplan's. You'll get 370 hours of MCAT prep, as well as medical school admissions advice and workshops. You'll also get the 8 AAMC MCAT practice tests and 11 Princeton Review MCAT practice tests.

A typical day would like like this:

  • 7:00–9:00 breakfast
  • 8:00–9:30 office hours
  • 9:30–11:00 Science Lecture 1
  • 11:00–11:15 break
  • 11:15–12:45 Science Problem-Solving Skills Session
  • 12:45–2:00 lunch
  • 2:00–3:30 Science Lecture 2
  • 3:30–4:00 break
  • 4:00–5:30 Verbal Reasoning Instruction/Drills
  • 5:30–7:00 dinner
  • 7:00–8:30 Science Lecture or Problem-Solving Session
  • 8:30–10:00 reading/study hall with instructor for Q&A

So, it looks like you'd get a little less one-on-one time with this intensive course than with the Kaplan summer intensive.

Princeton Review

Private Tutoring. 48 hours starting at $6,480 depending on location and tutor level ($7,200 in SoCal up to $14,400).

What You Get

This one is just like it sounds. You get a private MCAT tutor that’s been cleared by Princeton Review MCAT, so you know that they’ll be good.

This is also stratified by their experience into Premier, Master and Private tutors. Premier have 1,000 hours and great results with clients, Master 500 hours and great results, Private are "the best instructors with great feedback from students."

If you learn best one-on-one, this could be a good option. It's the most expensive, as you would expect for private tutoring.

This option is also available through the internet, so if you prefer to meet online or live in a remote area you can still enjoy private tutoring.


Online Options

If you prefer to do things online, Princeton MCAT has one particular option for you.

MCAT LiveOnline. $1999.

This Princeton MCAT course delivers the same features as the Princeton Review MCAT classroom course. The difference is that you will log into an online class delivered in real time by an instructor. This means that you will log into a live lecture for 105 hours of instruction.

You'll also still get the 20+ hours of one-on-one tutoring, which is a nice benefit.

You will have access to the same materials as the live option.


Partial Programs

Princeton Review really just has one option here, which is the

Verbal Accelerator LiveOnline. $499.

Another unique Princeton MCAT course that focuses on the verbal reasoning section of the MCAT. You will again be logging in to see a live teacher go through different aspects of the MCAT verbal reasoning.

You'll get 15 hours of live online instruction, along with additional to help you perform your best on the verbal reasoning section of the MCAT. This could be a good option if you feel you're strong on the sciences, but not as strong on this section.


Mike's Take/Princeton Review MCAT prep Pros and Cons

Princeton Review definitely has a lot of good options available if you're interested in an MCAT prep course. Here's my overview of the good and the bad when it comes to this company.

Cons

Crying Yuri - At home

Princeton Review MCAT practice tests don't correlate well to real tests.

In a study from studentdoc.com, Princeton Review MCAT acually had the worst correlation between their practice MCAT scores and the real MCAT between Kaplan, Princeton Review and the AAMC tests. However, people tended to score higher on the real MCAT than the practice exams. In fact, of the data collected, nobody scored lower on the real test than they did on the Princeton Review tests. The AAMC practice tests had the best correlation. You get the AAMC tests with the Princeton Review MCAT, so use those as more of a guage of what your actual score will be than the Princeton Review MCAT practice tests. For this analysis, click here.


Expensive

You'll be paying close to $2,000 or more for most courses. But,click here for exclusive discounts on MCAT test prep by Princeton Review MCAT.

Princeton Review MCAT Pros

Smile

One-on-one time. This for me is a huge pro for Princeton Review MCAT. With their baseline session you'll get 20 hours of one-on-one MCAT tutoring.

Big name. Princeton Review MCAT is one of the big names in MCAT test prep. This means that Princeton MCAT has resources to devote to research and in choosing instructors.

Online classes available. Princeton MCAT offers online courses, which are my preferred type of courses (I prefer online, as you can see from this website!).

Small groups available. Princeton review MCAT offers small group instruction with only 4 other students. This is near private tutoring, and MCAT tutors cost far more on an individual basis.

More materials. You'll get a lot more in-print materials with Princeton Review MCAT. You'll also get more in-class instruction (105 hours and 42 sessions).

Guarantees. Like any good MCAT prep course, Princeton Review MCAT makes guarantees about their product. They are as follows:

  • Readiness Guarantee: If at the end of your course, you do not feel ready to take the test for which you are preparing, you may repeat the course you have just completed or, if available, take a refresher course. You have a year from the start of your program to take advantage of this after you finish your course. It will cost you a $300 administrative fee to take advantage of this option and you won't get a replacement set of materials, but you can purchase a new set for $200. This does not apply to private tutoring.
    OR
  • Satisfaction Guarantee: If at the end of your program, you are not satisfied, regardless of how much your score improves, you may continue to work with us for up to a year. To take advantage of this, you just need to take the MCAT within 45 days of when your class ends. For example, if your class ends April 1st, you need to take the MCAT by about May 16th. If you're not happy with your score, you can repeat your course or even choose a different one for free (classroom vs online course, not private tutoring). If, however, you take your MCAT after May 16th, you'll have to pay the $300 administrative fee. You'll also have to buy new supplies. You cannot repeat private tutoring. If you chose private tutoring initially, you can take a classroom or online class.
    OR
  • Money Back Guarantee: If, after taking your program, your score doesn't improve, you may receive a tuition refund. Your score will either be compared to a real MCAT 6 months or less before your course started or your initial practice exam with Princeton Review MCAT. You'll need to take your MCAT within 45 days of finishing your course and show your score to Princeton Review MCAT within 90 days of finishing your course.

Keep in mind that you can only choose one of these options. Also, for the Ultimate MCAT, you'll be eligible for the satisfaction and money back guarantees, however, you will take a classroom course for the satisfaction guarantee. If your score doesn't improve after both the Ultimate MCAT and Princeton Review MCAT classroom course, you'll be eligible for a full refund. You can also retake the Ultimate MCAT the next year at a discount.

Amplifire. This is a cool concept that seems to be built on solid science to help you move all of the information you're learning from your short term to your long term memory.

Harder questions. Princeton Review MCAT practice tests tend to be lower than the actual exam. In my mind, this is usually a good thing since you'd rather be happily surprised with your score than upset.

Princeton Review

Conclusion

The Princeton Review MCAT is a great choice for an MCAT prep course if you learn mainly from reading and from having one-on-one time with an instructor. You'll get a lot of written material and have 20+ one-on-one hours with the basic programs. Another option is the small group program with just you and three other students so you get lots of individual attention. You also have the option to choose an excellent private tutor to really customize your program just for you.

Click here to visit Princeton Review's site. They also have different promotions at times, so you’ll often pay less than their listed prices.

Also, use the banner below or the link above and use the code Insider150 to get $150 off of other courses!

And, remember that any purchase made from this site using the code Insider150 gets free copies of my two eBooks! Just click on a link, make your purchase, then email me through the contact page and I'll email your books!

Princeton Review

Remember, a good MCAT prep course and score is only part of what it takes to get into medical school. Visit my page on admissions to find out the 8 things medical schools want!

For a more complete discussion of Princeton Review vs Kaplan MCAT, click here.

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