I can’t offer as much detail on ExamKrackers or Berkeley Review since I don’t live anywhere near one of their prep centers. All in all though, judging by the quality of books they produce and user reviews on SDN, if you live close to one of these companies, you should definitely check them out. To be clear, this post is about the prep courses these companies offer. If you’re looking for more on the books they sell (and you should be), check out my list of MCAT prep materials and my recent post: MCAT book review.
The Berkeley Review
Unlike other testing companies that offer classes for a variety of academic exams, the Berkeley Review (TBR) specializes in MCAT prep. Most instructors carry advanced degrees and have taught a minimum of two years at the university level, and teach for TBR full time. This is a standard that sets them apart from all the rest of the MCAT prep live classes. I guess you could say they’re a cut above. Class size is also limited to 25-30 students, so as to encourage discussion. The two-month schedule makes room for 50 two-hour lectures (for a total of 100 classroom lecture hours) plus 300-500 hours when instructors are available for one-on-one or small group counseling, and 4 full-length practice exams offered online. The 10 books provided to registering students contain more than 2,700 pages of materials, including more than 550 MCAT-style passages. The Berkeley Review live course is offered only in California (six locations), at a cost of $2,045. The Physics and General Chemistry books published by TBR get good reviews as “the gold standard.” Although I don’t live near
any of the course locations, I used the entire TBR book set and found them to be outstanding. If you’ve got the science down already, you won’t need most of the content in the books (in fact, there’s quite a bit of superfluous detail). But the practice questions for each chapter are very challenging, and relatively similar to what’s on the real MCAT.
The Examkrackers MCAT classes are offered in more than a dozen states in locations near college campuses plus the District of Columbia and Calgary, Canada. The company has a great reputation for MCAT prep. The Comprehensive CBT Review For the New MCAT Course runs 9 weeks, with two four-hour classes a week. One or two professors will tag team the classes. Each class lecture includes a 50-minute lecture, a short break followed by a 30-minute practice exam in the MCAT format, and a complete review of the exam. You’re more likely to find Examkrackers classes in your area leading up to the April and August MCAT test dates. Four full-length practice exams are included in this course.
To make Examkrackers more region-friendly, they’ve got a new option: Live Online classes. So you can join a class from the comfort of your easy chair, wearing the get-up of your choice: beachwear or your favorite jammies!
A proprietary “MCAT Extra Course” is also offered, which puts students with specific weaknesses through a rigorous set of nine 3-hour sessions in small class settings, to get them ready for the comprehensive review. The Extra Course, which includes the Comprehensive Review Course, costs $3,900. The Comprehensive Review Course is either $2,049 or $2,299, depending on how compressed the schedule is, with a discount of $150 for early registrants. The Live Online Course is $2,049.
ExamKrackers or Berkeley Review? It’s up to you….
Here are a few other helpful posts re: MCAT prep materials and classes: