Kaplan Online MCAT prep

I was just curious if anybody has any experience with Kaplan's online options for MCAT prep. The classroom course schedule's is a bit prohibitive with my work schedule and I wondered if the online options are worth looking in to. If anybody can weigh in on this I would appreciate it. I have no problem with motivation to study…just the scheduling. Will I get enough out of the online option to make it worthwhile?

Here are some things that I like:
1) It's convenient and flexible- you can fit it in when you have time (I am not near a class center. I also work and have a family.)
2) I always find it easier to learn something if I look at material presented in different ways (eg. computer vs. books and looking at various text books - I'm also using the EK books to review).
3) I'm very much at home on the computer since I do alot of work on the computer for my job.
4) I was thinking of taking the computerized MCAT, so I wanted to get used to computer test format. I still may do the computer MCAT in April- I'm waiting to see how the results compared to the paper version in the pilot they did in August in London.
(BTW-AMCAS tests are also available on line)
These are some things I don't like:

1) you are limited to 6 months access and then you have to pay the full price again. This means for me it runs out in January and I'm taking the exam in April. I didn't pay attention to this when I bought it. I asked for an extension but they won't allow it. And right now I find I would prefer to study more in depth through texts and go back to the online version periodically for the additional tests and presentation, as I finish my review of each topic. But now I feel I have to use it as much as possible now - even if it doesn't fit my review schedule - just to get as much from it as possible.
2) I can't efficiently print out the units to carry around with me for review during the day (it's a laborious page-by-page printing operation), and there are no hard copy materials to go with it. They should provide a book with the course.
3) The online course is not really very interactive (I've never done an online course before though so maybe my expectations were unrealistic). Just seems to me like an online book with a few animations. Also whenever I ask them a question it takes several days to get an answer.
4) The quizs and exams are not set up conveniently to go with the modules. There are several quizzes for each science but each can cover all the material ie. there isn't a quiz to go with each subsection. I would like a quiz for each subsection to test how well I know the material before going to the next. Ideally I'd like to do a section from each science each week (eg. section 1 from bio monday, sectuion 1 from gen chem tuesday, organic wed, physics thursday) and then do one quiz for each science section on Friday or Saturday. But it doesn't work. I have to completely finish gen chem, then take the quizzes for gen chem. Then do all of organic, etc…
5) your computer has to have compatible OS etc… For my home computer that's fine since it's new, but my work computer has a bit older OS (but not ancient) so it's incompatible. I don't get my XP upgrade until Jan. So I can't do a module during my lunch break. I can only use it late at night after my daughter is in bed and I'm tired.
So I guess I'm glad to have it now that it's paid for, but I don't know if I'd do it again. Personally, I think it is overpriced. (I missed the OPM discount though)

Yeah I saw the OPM price is $849 I think. I have done plenty of CBT learning modules since I work in IT and they are usually lousy. I was hoping the online Kaplan option was worth it since the scheduling for me is horrendous. I would need to switch from my 12p-10p Sun- Wed work shift to a 6a-4pm shift to accomodate the class. Do you know of any other prep systems offering an online option. I checked TPR and they do not yet.

No, I don't know of any other online course - maybe EK is doing something. I was also looking into just regular distance learning courses from a university, but now it may be too late for me to do this since I need to take the April exam. I've never done a distance learning course (where everything was online) so I'm a bit leary about it.
Several people have been recommending special sites with online aids for learning physics and chemistry - many associated with university courses and I am finding these pretty useful to supplement my review books.
I've set myself a review schedule, but I'm missing a structured quiz schedule to help me benchmark myself. I have some problem books but I don't know if this is adequate and I want to save the AMCAS practice tests for the few months right before the exam.
Good luck. Let me know if you find anything useful.

I am also trying to decide what to do regarding the MCAT. Initially I had planned to continue studying for the GRE and use that as a set of scores to get me into a post-bacc program. Then I would just take the MCAT in August 2003 or April 2004. I have been thinking about applying for fall 2003 rather than summer 2003. This will allow me to take the MCAT in April and use those scores to get into post-bacc so I don't needlessly take the GRE…not that it would hurt., but I figured since I am shooting for med school I'd stick with the MCAT prep. Plus if I do well on the MCAT I would have it out of the way.
I have all my old college textbooks but that is it…they are old. Any idea what the good, most used general chem, general bio, general physics, and genetics books are? I wanted to get something new to review from. I already have Molecular Biology of the Cell (2002) that I can read for molecular/cell bio type stuff. I figured I'd get a new edition of Morrison and Boyd's Organic Chem in December when the new edition comes out.
My plan as of now was to spend the next 6 months reviewing all that material, take the MCAT in April and apply for post bacc for the fall semester. Then I could take classes and then do the MCAT again in April 2004. I'm still formulating, but to me the limiting factor is going to be the MCAT score so I am going to shoot as high as I can.
I will post updates here if I find any more useful MCAT study aids.

I asked for advice about recent textbooks to study/relearn the pre-req material on another thread, but no one responded. Maybe it exists somewhere else in the forum if you try the search engine.
I also bought the latest version of Molecular Biology of the Cell. I had a previous version in grad school and I love this book. I heard there is also a problem book you can buy for it but I didn’t find it in my local med school bookstore, so I might order it.
I’ve seen alot of advice about when to take the MCAT in this forum and I don’t think you should plan to take it more than once - wait until you’re ready. Are you taking a post-bac program because you haven’t done the pre-reqs yet or just as a review. Why were you studying for the GRE - were you thinking about grad school or do you need this to get into a post-bac program?
BTW, If you apply next year, it is for entry in 2004 - not 2003.
LM cool.gif

I was going to take the GRE because I had been planning on going to graduate school but decided that medical school was a better fit. It seemed like the post-bacc programs I was looking at wanted standardized test scores (preferring the MCAT) so I was going to take it twice…once to get in and a second time to measure improvement. I remember back in my college days everybody was taking it twice, so maybe things have changed nowadays.
The reason I had been thinking of taking a post-bacc program was to enhance my background. Penn has a special science option that allows you to take courses to solidify and strengthen your background. Their program allows you to retake courses or to take new ones. A lot of other schools are just pre-req programs…like Bryn Mawr. I already have all the pre-reqs wrapped up in my bio degree, but it is 9 years old. I have been checking with med schools in my area about how old the pre-reqs can be. So far 2 schools have avoided the question and only one has told me that it doesn't matter to them how old they are. In any case I thought it would be a good idea to take some new coursework anyway.
I realize that the application process is a full year. I expect that I am going to have to take some recent relevant coursework since I am a bit stale. When you take all of this into account it looks like this
MCAT April or August 2003
Post Bacc Courses Fall 2003-Fall 2004
Apply 2004 for 2005 class
I'm still formulating my strategy.
In terms of taking coursework…would you go the post-bacc route or just go and take non-matriculated courses?

I also have the pre-reqs older than 7 years issue and am still waiting for an answer from some schools about this. I don’t honestly think I could handle courses plus studying for the MCAT plus full time work. My job is already pretty stressful and timeconsuming. I am trying to figure out a way to get some time off after the first of the year.
I don’t know what to say about the post-bac vs. non-matriculated course option. Maybe someone with more experience with post-bac programs could answer that. (might have to start a new thread with that question because I think only you and I are reading this one! cool.gif

I started another thread about TPR’s MCAT course…in case you look here for my post since this seems to be our thread. smile.gif

QUOTE (Laramisa @ Oct 3 2002, 11:17 AM)
I asked for advice about recent textbooks to study/relearn the pre-req material on another thread, but no one responded. Maybe it exists somewhere else in the forum if you try the search engine.

Howdy y'all -
I did post somewhere on this board about my favorite biology textbook for review. I don't remember where, so I'll post my opinion again here smile.gif
For Biology - I love Raven and Johnson. I have the 2nd edition, but there are more recent editions. I did not and would not teach from this book, but it has bold type summaries at the end of each section. These are fantastic overviews. I also like the Cartoon Guide to Genetics for an overview.
For Chemistry - I don't have a suggested text, but what I've found most helpful is simply doing the problem sets in the complementary problem book that came with my text. This also worked a bit for Organic, but I mostly used my lab book from Organic because it made more sense to me that way.
While I absolutely love Molecular Biology of the Cell, I've found that Genes X (or whatever number they are on now) presents the subject matter more in line with how the Biology subject GRE and MCAT present it. Genes uses a lot of real life lab science examples. Both books are great, but go in to far too much detail for a general biology overview.
Hope this helps
-- Rachel
QUOTE (trkk @ Oct 3 2002, 02:56 PM)
In terms of taking coursework..would you go the post-bacc route or just go and take non-matriculated courses?

hey trkk -
If I were choosing between a post-bacc program and taking a few classes as a non-degree seeker, I would chose the non-degree seeking option. I'm not overly familiar with post-bacc programs, so my thinking may be a bit off, but I see a bit more freedom in the non-degree seeking option.
The way I see it, as a non-degree seeker, you could conceivable take a General Physics class and a graduate level immunology course - or whatever. You would get to chose what you want to take. Again, I'm not familiar with all the post-bacc programs, but most seem to be a structured set of courses. It also appears that post-bacc programs cost a bit more than simply taking classes as a non-degree seeker.
Anyway, this is simply my opinion. Hopefully someone more familiar with post-bacc programs will offer an opinion on this topic.
-- Rachel

Ok…here's another idea I had. My situation is that I have been out of school since 1993…no classwork since then. I signed up for TPR's long review that begins next month and goes through 4/03. Now I have no problem studying on my own. With my circumstances is it possible to do a self study review and do well on the MCAT or is a class indicated?
In college most of what I did was outline chapters of texts and come up with my own routine. I found that class lectures offered very little. If it is possible to do the review myself then what are the best materials. I see a lot of people on here mention the Examkrackers series. Would I do better to buy the EK series and review myself…saving about $1000? I have read in different forums that you can end up getting poor instructors in these classes, then all you end up with is self study anyway. Is the course worth it if you have the ability to study on your own.
I also bring this up since obviously I wouldn't be reviewing for the MCAT initially. The beginning would be a science review…should I hold off on TPR?