Kaplan or Princeton Review

I'm taking my MCAT in spring '04 and I'm researching on which prep course is better. Have anyone taken both of them or know of a review site comparing those two prep courses? It looks like Princeton Review has more study sessions than Kaplan. Any comments or thoughts?
I just want to make sure my money is well spent and not become disappointed in the end.

Kaplan if you have time for the test n tape library. Princeton Review if you like having all your stuff with you to review at your own pace. I understand that Kaplans teachers have improved. Really enjoyed Princeton Review the best - but I hear it depends on the city/instructor. What does everybody else think?

People have good and bad things to say about both. I have taken neither so I can't tell you too much abou them. However, I think the instruction can be hit or miss with either. I would suggest asking specific students near you (perhaps your pre-med advisor might know of some) that have taken the course for their opinion. The teaching can vary greatly from one site to another since many of the instructors are not professional teachers but rather just people trained to teach the course.

I agree that it depends on the instructors you get. We had 3 for my Kaplan course. 2 great ones and a real dud.
That being said, after taking evaluation tests and seeing my early practice test scores, my real test came up about 5-6 points. From pretty good to really good. I attribute that to the excellent review material that Kaplan provides and the hours of review.
I don't know anything about Princeton except that their more frequent review sessions didn't work with my schedule.
Oh yeah! We get a Kaplan discount! Every penny counts.

Both K and PR may use instructors who are minimally trained. Buyer beware. Quality is very site-dependent and person-dependent, so be sure that if this is important, you investigate the instructor(s) before you pay the big $$. Other than instructors, other resources will be identical between sites for a given company. Find out what you get, what is online, whether the access is practical and suits your schedule.
The philosophy of the 2 companies is somewhat different. Check this out too; see which environment you prefer. You may also want to check out examkrackers.com or Berkeley Review, if you live in the vicinity of one of their classes.
There are many posts on studentdoctor.net comparing the companies. Each has avid fans and strong critics. In the end, I believe that for most students, effort and time commitment are more important than differences in materials and techniques (although I am not a fan of the PR verbal technique). If you pay the $$, be sure you are putting in the time to get your money's worth.

Hi Josh,
While I don’t usually post, I wanted to share just a couple of pieces of information about Kaplan to keep in mind as you shop, and clear up a couple of misnomers.
1) All Kaplan materials that were previously kept only in Kaplan centers (ie…Topical, subject, full-length practice tests, etc) are now all on-line and included in the Kaplan live prep course. You can download all test questions and explanations to every test question.
2) Kaplan requires us to put all instructors through a Nationally Mandated, 40 hour Kaplan Teacher Training program and instructors must score in the 90% in order to audition to teach for us (currently 11s or higher on each section they wish to teach). In the training program, we help them master the Kaplan strategies (if not a Kaplan alum) and their personal presentation style. All Kaplan center are owned by the Washington Post Company, so all follow this policy.
3) NEW!!! Our Higher Score Guarantee. If your score does not go up after taking our course and you complete the basic study requirements (and I do mean BASIC…attend class, attend scheduled full-lengths, and do minimum homework) we offer a full-tuition refund. If your score goes up, but it is still not as high as you would like, you can come back and study with us at no charge. This is not a “refresher course”, it is our entire program.
4) Register soon! Our price is going up as of October 1st, and you can put down a deposit on the class to reserve your seat. Also, take advantage of the Old Pre-Med Kaplan discount. Just email Old Man Dave for the discount code and click on the link on the OPM site to register with the code.
I hope this information makes your decision easier. Additionally, feel free to call your local Kaplan center to meet with a teacher, take a practice test, watch a video of a class, or just look around before you enroll. You are always welcome at any Kaplan center!
Take care and feel free to contact me with any questions.
Area Director, Kaplan Test Prep

Does the Kaplan policy you outlined apply to those of us who just finished the last course before the Aug MCAT?

Caveat Emptor - regardless of what you choose.
I took the Kaplan, but only because the locations were more convenient than PR, and I had a great experience.
Two people I knew took the Kaplan class in an area where no center was available, so it was taught in a college. They did not get the same level of access I had to tests, materials etc (or an adequate teaching environment) and the teacher was underwhelming. Yet they were charged full price!!
Just be extra careful. And I have heard great things about EK books and materials (I used the CDs myself).