Kaplan Online or Kaplan Self-Paced—the envelope please!
So here’s a quick rundown on the features of two remote online options offered by Kaplan: Kaplan Online or Kaplan Self-Paced. They both nix the classroom option, giving you greater flexibility and freedom. So, drumroll….here they are:
With its penchant for filling every possible niche, Kaplan offers two options for MCAT non-live prep courses: Kaplan Online or Kaplan Self-Paced.
Both of these options take you out of the traditional classroom and plunk you in front of a computer screen for MCAT prep. Although it’s not the most common route for test takers, online MCAT prep is a pretty solid option for people whose lives and schedules are hectic or are subject to change without warning, or people who live long distances from Kaplan testing centers. That’s because it allows you to map out your MCAT study schedule in a way that works for you, not just your average MCAT prepper. For that reason, I like to think of Kaplan online like the Burger King of MCAT prep, since you can “have it your way”—when and where you want it. The question then becomes whether “having it your way” is better than leaving the burger design to people who do it for a living.
The Live Online course costs $2,299, which is the same price as the live, in-person option, while the Self-Paced course is a little less: $1,999. You can also add a package to each of these courses, which piles on other features including one-on-one coaching, two self-paced online courses in Biochemistry (usually $499) and Biology and Sociology (usually $499), and in the case of the Self-Paced course, 24/7 access to the MCAT Channel (that’s already included with the Online course).
Looking for information about live MCAT prep courses? Jump to my review: Kaplan or Princeton Review for the best MCAT prep course?
What’s the difference?
Kaplan MCAT Advantage Online
The Kaplan Advantage Online is a live class, offered on a schedule and viewable online. So you’ll get some of the advantages of a live class like interaction between students (using instant chat, screen sharing and polling), a “live” instructor, and use of traditional teaching tools like a whiteboard, in-class video presentations, etc. You’ll also have 24/7 access to all classroom instruction, so you can choose to study from any location, any time.
Kaplan MCAT Advantage Self-Paced
Kaplan’s Self-Paced course is made up of pre-recorded videos featuring Kaplan instructors, which you can watch when you want, in the order you want, and rewind and/or repeat sections if needed. Your On Demand access ends after 5 months.
How Kaplan Online or Kaplan Self-Paced are the same:
Both of these options offer the same MCAT prep class time (540 hours) and the exact online resources you get with Kaplan’s live classes, including 14 full-length practice exams including AAMC’s latest, access to the MCAT Channel, e-mail access to Kaplan advisors, plus Q Bank. You also have the “higher score guarantee” so you can repeat the course at no additional cost within 2-3 months of your first try.
Advantages of Kaplan Advantage Live Online
This virtual classroom is created when you sit down in front of your computer (Subway sandwich and chips in hand) and log in to the class session about to begin. Obviously, a big selling point is the convenience factor, as you don’t have to drive anywhere and it’s not a requirement that you live close to a Kaplan center. Since the class session is “live,” you’re watching it with lots of other pre-med students and there’s the opportunity for interaction and feedback. And the schedule is set for you, so all you have to do is show up.
and the disadvantages…
If you thrive on the interaction in a typical classroom, this will fall a little flat. Even though it’s virtually live, it doesn’t offer the same give and play of a normal live lecture. Then there’s the obvious warning: you have to be pretty self-motivated to sit down and stay focused on the video monitor, and block out whatever’s going on around you.
Advantages of Kaplan Advantage Self-Paced
If you like taking rigorous classes at 3 a.m., there’s no reason not to. Simply fire up your Mac Book, log on to Kaplan, and join a “virtual classroom” to prep for the MCAT Verbal or Chemistry Section. If your study/school/work schedule is impossible to fit around Kaplan’s live class schedule, you’re in the driver’s seat here.
and the disadvantages…
This “class” isn’t really a class. It’s more like watching a PowerPoint presentation. There’s a real risk that it may not be able to hold your interest for the full 540 hours of instruction and practice….not to mention 130 interaction science review videos!
It’s also a little dicey to take on 540 hours of lecturing on exciting MCAT topics with no real schedule. If you’re the type to make a schedule and stick to it, maybe this could work. But using it just for the convenience of getting “off the grid” and calling your own shots could also spell your downfall. There’s also some concern about whether you can get your essays graded when you’re doing Self-Paced, while it seems like Kaplan does offer grading for Live Online students.
T H E B O T T O M L I N E
Here’s why you might opt for Kaplan’s MCAT Live Online course:
- You don’t live near a Kaplan classroom location.
- You are happiest studying solo, but still want the advantage of learning from those who know the ropes.
Here’s why you might opt for Kaplan’s MCAT Advantage Self-Paced course:
- You have a crazy schedule.
- You have confidence in your ability to stay motivated and follow your established MCAT prep schedule.
For all visitors to our website there’s a rebate of up to $150 or more at different times of the year. If you’ve been waiting to jump, now’s probably a good time to take advantage….just let click to Kaplan from this page (using one of the colored links) and you’ll get the premedfaq.com discount.