Kaplan Practice Tests: easier than the real thing?

Hope everyone is staying sane in application crunch time. 2 questions here:

  1. Do you all think that the kaplan full length practice tests are truley indicative off MCAT scores? (are they easier, harder, the same?)

  2. How much will a lopsided MCAT score hurt an other wise descent application? (my last practice test totaled 32 but my PS was only an 8). Thanks in advance.

My Kaplan practice tests ranged from 4-9 points below my actual score (but that was 9 years ago).

Hello. I am in the same boat as you. I just wanted to add that I’ve heard that the Kaplan PS section is not really indicative of the AAMC PS section. I’ve heard this from other students who took Kaplan, AAMC test and then the real thing but I don’t know if this is true.

I can’t seem to get above 10 for the Kaplan PS but do better in the other sections so I’m lopsided too. I’ve also been doing the AAMC practice tests and tend to do better on those PS sections (between 12 and 13).

So, don’t let the Kaplan tests freak you out. Just use them as another timed test but don’t take the scores too seriously. If nothing else, they will help you identify things you don’t understand.

Taking the AAMC tests may make you feel better and your scores won’t be as lopsided.

I hope that helps. I just keep thinking about all of the things that I want to do after the MCAT (it keeps me sane

Thanks that does make me feel better, I think Ill take a AAMC test next week for comparison. I am also planning many things to do post MCAT. I want to go camping and leave all the MCAT prep books behind.

Well, I can only give you my experience last year. I thought the AAMC test and Kaplan tests were all pretty close. Got within 3 points of my best score, on test day.

BUT, found the real thing a bit harder regarding timing due to 2 issues:

1 - stress - I lost track of time and felt I was jumping around a bit in my pace. Did some deliberate relaxing and destressing in the first break (and praying for calm!), and did better at the rest of it.

2 - the Kaplan tests have a mixture of short and longer, more complex passages, with some practice triaging. But in my test, I felt all the passages were on the longer side, but was still able to complete everything so it was doable.


I would recommend doing practice tests on aamc.org. I found the Kaplan to be easier than the actual test, especially PS. I took the test May 21, PS passages were long and complicated. BS and verbal were about the same. Good luck, I may be taking it again depending on my score.

When choosing an MCAT prep course, I polled my friends, some of whom took Kaplan, others took Princeton Review/Hyperlearning, and others took Berkeley Review. Those who took Kaplan said they found the Kaplan practice tests easier than the real MCAT, while those who took the other prep courses said they were about the same, although the real MCAT passages were a bit longer than the practice tests. It was for this reason that I decided to rule out taking Kaplan; I eventually settled on Princeton Review because I could take a longer course; I found the Berkeley Review course too fast-paced for an older person like me. But I got their books anyway so I can study both BR and PR at the same time, following PR’s course schedule.

So I have now taken several AAMC practice test and this is what I think:

AAMC may be a little longer passages, but the questions tend to have less calculations than kaplan (AAMC seem more concept based and less actual math). So I am doing better on AAMC (I get the concept but cant do math quickly or accurately without a calculator). I am taking the real thing this thursday 7/8 so ill let you know how I feel then!

Kaplan tests are pretty indicative of the real thing. If memory serves (this was 9 years ago), my overall score was the same as the most recent Kaplan score. I don’t recall the exact breakdown on the Kaplan, but on the real thing I scored two 11’s and a 10. I do remember feeling pretty weak in PS, and focusing more on that as the real test approached. As far as how lopsided scores are viewed, the overall score is more important. Interviewers want to know if candidates are prepared to study at that rigorous level, as well as to assess basic fund of knowledge. The MCAT is designed to do both. If there are glaring dissimilarities, be prepared to discuss those in the interview, because you will likely be asked.