Looking for suggestions....

Hey Folks,

I just joined this forum and must say that I have enjoyed reading through several of the topics, diaries etc. It is interesting to see that so many of us out there have considered medicine later in life.

In brief, I am a 44 year old registered licensed Architect living and working in Canada - I have a full time job with the public sector as well as a small private practice. Prior to Architecture (M.Arch 2004) I studied Science gaining a B.Sc (Biology) in 1995 and a M.Sc (Genetics) in 1999. I truly enjoy the profession of Architecture from a creative stand point and the day to day challenges of trying to do something that is indeed creative while being on time and on budget, but the pull back towards the life sciences has been very strong over the past few years. A lot of this “pull” has arrived due to family health challenges including my own. I knew I had to really start looking at this when I started subscriptions to The New England Journal of Medicine and Nature in an attempt to see what is happening out there in the Sciences and Clinical Research, since I left this world of academia.

Some of the material is coming back pretty quickly while a lot of it needs a major refresher for sure. Back in 1992 or 1993 I wrote the MCAT which I understand has changed a lot since then with the latest revamp happening in 2015. At the time I remember doing reasonably well but for whatever reason decided not to bother with applying to medical school as I was becoming more interested in the research side of science (most of my courses were in molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics).

I have started to map out a bit of a plan but could use some suggestions from those who have been at this already. My biggest question is what is the best MCAT Study Guide Series out there? I have found mixed reviews on all of them - the two biggies as I understand it are Kaplan and Princeton Review. I have considered purchasing both sets and starting there but thought you folks might have some suggestions.

Finally, I will say that some of my colleagues/friends think I am nuts for considering going back to school at my age. I quickly remind them that I am not going back to school at my age that I am probably about 2-3 years out as I have to prepare all the while balancing full time work with family life. This really raises eyebrows. The way I look at it - we only live once and if you want to do something, just figure out a plan and go for it. My career path to date has been non-traditional, so why change my “path” now.

Any suggestions / recommendations would be greatly appreciated.



My class was offered ExamKrackers. I thought it was concise, but could’ve used more focus on biochem and a more expansive cellular/molecular biology book. Also their psych book left out at least 1-2 chapters of very important material (which they’re allegedly addressing, but who knows when.) They have 4 practice tests, which I think you can take an unlimited number of times. I thought they were pretty similar to the real thing, being most helpful in the crazy graphs that force you to think about how data is presented.

Some classmates did Kaplan. Kaplan goes very much into detail on subjects, almost too much for my taste. They are presenting material you simply don’t need (but can benefit from having seen the terms/processes, even if you don’t memorize them.) I believe they have 11 practice tests and consensus says they’re very hard and almost everyone scores higher on the real thing. You can take them once but possibly have Kaplan clear them to take them again.

I don’t know much about PR. AAMC also has its own practice test and will release another soon. I thought #1 was much easier than the real deal.

My classmates scored quite well and quite low using both prep materials.

As Prodigal said, all exam companies are scrambling with the new test. I’d expect new editions of their guides to come out next year. Sorry I can’t give you a firm opinion, but those are the things I’ve noticed with both.

As far as MCAT prep goes I used the Kaplan course myself and was rather pleased with it, but that was for the previous generation MCAT. The new (2015) MCAT seems to be a bit of a shot in the dark with regards to the review companies still because of how new it is.

My med school gives all the MSII’s a full Kaplan review course for Step 1 that’s how much they like them…if that helps you at all.

Hello Everyone,

I am 53, a chiropractor and college professor( anatomy/physiology/microbiology) and just completed the ExamKrackers review. I anticipate taking the April MCAT’s and will be applying to osteopathic schools. I thought the new ExamKrackers review was concise ad exhaustive; I was pleased. If anyone has further suggestions, I solicit them. Thanks.