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Prep101 Vs Princeton Review Vs Ek

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Hi guys,

I am a science student hoping to take the MCAT this summer and I am really conflicted on which prep course is the best. Specifically which one do you think prepares you best for the CARS section? Which one gives practice passages most like the real MCAT?

 

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I took Princeton Review course and didn't find it helpful at all. Especially for CARS, it was useless. For the sciences, it was good to stay on schedule and be in an environment with other people around me going through the same thing but honestly, I could have read the books myself and supplement with online videos.

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I'm in the exact same boat as End Poverty (with respect to books -- TPR for CARS, Kaplan and some EK for science)! The first time I took my MCAT I absolutely bombed CARS. Second time around I used the TPR workbook for CARS and also some passages from EK and Kaplan. Saved my butt & I did well enough in CARS to be interviewed at Western/Mac :)!! I mean, part of it was probably taking lots of arts classes in between my 2 MCATs, but I think a large part of my improvement was TPR's emphasis on finding the best CARS method for you, etc. 

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Don't know if this is still relevant, but I am currently taking the Prep101 course which uses Examkrackers textbooks. I find it very helpful so far for CARS/ verbal reasoning, Like all other courses, you need to keep up and learn yourself before you attend the class or else you will be really lost. It is nice because they have afternoon classes for people who have jobs and they repeat classes on weekends if you want to attend another class or attend one again. They give out a lot of practice tests and two AAMC tests. If you call in, they give you a pretty good summary of what resources they provide. I heard Princeton is great for the information they give, but the information can be excessive and thus hard to focus on what is important. The teach you from the ground up (the basics of the basics). Kaplan is more self based learning. Prep101 does a little of both, but I can get back to this after I actually attempt the exam. 

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17 minutes ago, PreMedJen said:

Don't know if this is still relevant, but I am currently taking the Prep101 course which uses Examkrackers textbooks. I find it very helpful so far for CARS/ verbal reasoning, Like all other courses, you need to keep up and learn yourself before you attend the class or else you will be really lost. It is nice because they have afternoon classes for people who have jobs and they repeat classes on weekends if you want to attend another class or attend one again. They give out a lot of practice tests and two AAMC tests. If you call in, they give you a pretty good summary of what resources they provide. I heard Princeton is great for the information they give, but the information can be excessive and thus hard to focus on what is important. The teach you from the ground up (the basics of the basics). Kaplan is more self based learning. Prep101 does a little of both, but I can get back to this after I actually attempt the exam. 

I agree! I did prep101 + used EK books last summer and found them very helpful, especially for CARS and for the structure it gave me. Physics and chemistry are my week points so I had to supplement with Khan Academy videos but otherwise I found the prep101 classes and EK books to be very good (though I do have a science background). 

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I tried with prep101 and I'm very glad I did!! I want to say I am in no way affiliated with them. I don't work for them, know no one working for them. I just had an amazing experience with them.

Reason 1: Their repeat policy 
For many reasons, I ended up taking my Mcat 3 times and being with prep 101 really saved me a lot of stress because of their repeat-policy. You can retake their classes as much as you want and they wont charge you anything. I was afraid the first year that they would find a way or a loophole to make me pay more but they never did and it was very simple. I just sent an email saying I wanted to do the prep classes again and they added me on the list. That was a blessing because when I started it cost around 1200$ now it's around 2200$, so their repeat policy saved me a lot of money and stress! I bought the books again, but they didn't ask me to do it, I did it on my own free will. 

Reason 2: The material provided
They make their own material and their price cover all the EK books and NS full length exams. And since they are not a "brand name" company like Kaplan or TPR, they aren't afraid of telling you to go look for other resources than EK and NS and they recommend them based on your needs. They offer classroom notes that are truly a blessing because they are very succinct, they have loads of schemas/table (which is my way of studying) and they offer a lot of tips to memorize things. I did my own resumes based a lot on their notes. I tried other companies for reading material and I always found EK to be the most helpful and easy to read/understand. Also tried a lot of companies for full length tests and NS was the most representative of the real Mcat. So for me prep101 offered everything I needed.

Reason 3: They have amazing teachers
Their teachers are assessed by students before they are employed. And I come from a city where the Mcat is not all that popular (not mandatory to apply in med). So I was scared my teachers wouldn't be as good as in other city where the Mcat is more of a thing. But, no, I had the most amazing teachers ever. They were soooo great. I never thought I could understand organic chemistry so easily. And the thing is, if there is a teacher you and your group find difficult to follow or dont like for a reason, you can just email them and they will find an experienced teacher with good reviews in another city and fly him/her right over your city to give you the classes. Never had to happen, but for me, knowing they could do it, that was really reassuring. Teachers will also complete your material by giving you their own advices, some will make resumes of the class than can hold on a single page at the end.  They will give you advices that transcends the mcat and go to personal hygiene (sleep pattern, eating behaviour, etc) to follow to be on top for the mcat or their tips for when you'll be applying for medschool.

Reason 4: they offer amazing flexibility
Each class is offered twice per week (one in the evening on week days, the other on the week-end). For me it was a life saver because sometimes I couldn't make it to a class and still had the option of going to the other. Also, my first year i was doing a lot of research so my schedule was a bit hectic, so their flexibility was very helpful. 

So yeah, those were my principal reasons for loving my experience with prep 101. I also appreciated the structure it offered and having a teacher I could ask questions to. Having done all my science classes in french, I was a bit stressed of how this would affect my performance. But they were very helpful through it all.

Hope this helps, good luck!

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37 minutes ago, HalfBaked said:

Reason 3: They have amazing teachers

Their teachers are assessed by students before they are employed. And I come from a city where the Mcat is not all that popular (not mandatory to apply in med). So I was scared my teachers wouldn't be as good as in other city where the Mcat is more of a thing. But, no, I had the most amazing teachers ever. They were soooo great. I never thought I could understand organic chemistry so easily. And the thing is, if there is a teacher you and your group find difficult to follow or dont like for a reason, you can just email them and they will find an experienced teacher with good reviews in another city and fly him/her right over your city to give you the classes. Never had to happen, but for me, knowing they could do it, that was really reassuring. Teachers will also complete your material by giving you their own advices, some will make resumes of the class than can hold on a single page at the end.  They will give you advices that transcends the mcat and go to personal hygiene (sleep pattern, eating behaviour, etc) to follow to be on top for the mcat or their tips for when you'll be applying for medschool.

^This! I did prep101 twice and had the opportunity to be one of the students who assessed people who had applied to be prep101 instructors. They literally have to audition in front of a handful of students by giving a lecture. We then very thoroughly graded each of them on several aspects of their ability to teach. I auditioned CARS and chemistry instructors - several people applied for only two open positions so only the best got chosen. The instructor I helped choose to teach CARS ended up being a big part of the reason why my CARS score jumped from 126 to 129. (for anyone who is considering doing prep101 in Kingston, I'm talking about Liam!)

Anyway, I am also in no way affiliated with prep101, I just had a very good experience and would highly recommend them :) 

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I must say Princeton Review helped me quite a lot. I attended free sessions from both Prep 101 and Princeton Review and found that the Princeton Review team just appeared more professional and coordinated (if that made sense). I decided to go with Princeton Review and have not regretted it. There practices were super helpful as well as there teaching style just fit better with myself. I feel they can cover more in a given time slot then Prep 101, which personally I prefer because that means I get more info for the time.  

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If you are in Ontario GTA area message me.  I did prep with a small company (all were formal tutors at the big three companies) Price is about half and so much one on one time.  They would call me for hours helping me with Cars.  Honestly, best decision I made.  Currently have an interview for this year because of them. 

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I would self-study. Paying $2,000 for a review course seems a bit unnecessary unless you are having trouble structuring your time. 

For example, for self-studying, you can do practice passages (e.g.: Examkracker 1001 physics/biology, etc.), use Anki to consolidate content, and taking AAMC practice tests to simulate the real MCAT. Find a schedule online that works for you. 

Good luck.

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