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Magoosh vs Kaplan MCAT
Find out which MCAT prep course is best for you in this detailed Kaplan vs Magoosh comparison
Believe it or not, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make as you start your journey towards med school is which MCAT prep course to use. Choose a good prep course and you’ll be well on your on way to a top-rated medical school. Choose a bad one and you might very well find yourself back at the beginning of the process. Luckily for you, we compare and contrast two of the most popular MCAT prep companies around (Magoosh and Kaplan) to help make that decision a little easier.
If you want to achieve an elite score on the MCAT, selecting the right MCAT course is crucial. Here are the primary reasons why you may want to opt for Kaplan over Magoosh for your MCAT prep.
Course Options & Study Materials
Before we dive into the nitty gritty details, let’s first talk about the different course options Kaplan offers. In short, there are 4 different packages to choose from:
On Demand package that costs approximately $1,900;
Live Online package that costs approximately $2,400;
In-Person course that costs approximately $3,000; and
Live Online + Private Tutoring bundle that runs for approximately $3,300.
Now obviously, there’s no denying that the Kaplan courses are more expensive than Magoosh’s. But you also get what you pay for. To put it simply, Kaplan and Magoosh are not even in the same ballpark in terms of quality and quantity of study materials.
Between their video lessons, live classes, prep books, live online workshops, quizzes, and practice tests, there is over 700 hours of Kaplan prep materials.
However, it’s not just the volume of study materials that Kaplan provides, it’s the structure and curriculum within their courses that should be highlighted as well.
Whereas Magoosh takes a more passive, self-paced approach in which students sort of pick and choose what they want to study and when, the Kaplan courses are more organized and carefully formulated.
MCAT Practice Tests
Another category in which Kaplan dominates Magoosh is practice tests. Kaplan offers 16 full-length simulated practice exams, whereas Magoosh offers just 3. That’s a big difference.
As we all know, taking practice tests under exam like conditions is extremely valuable during the prep process, so the fact that Kaplan provides 13 more of those opportunities is pretty meaningful.
I mean, let’s face it, taking and reviewing practice tests is often where students make the biggest gains so the fact that Kaplan provides more than 4x the amount of practice tests than Magoosh should not be taken lightly.
Plus, almost more importantly, we found Kaplan’s practice tests to be a better match for the difficulty, style, content, and length of real MCAT passages. Simply put, Kaplan beats Magoosh with respect to practice material.
The next big advantage for Kaplan are their live classes. Whether you choose Kaplan’s live online course or in-person package, students get 42 hours of live instruction. In contrast, with Magoosh, there are no live classes. It’s all self-study.
Needless to say that if you’re not the type of student who does well self-studying, and instead prefers learning in a live class setting so you can ask instructors questions on the fly and mingle with your peers, Kaplan will be your clear choice.
Not to mention, if you simply want a clearly defined class schedule to help hold yourself accountable and stay organized, which is important in MCAT prep, then I think Kaplan is clearly the winner.
Top-Notch MCAT Prep Books
The final win for Kaplan is their hardcopy prep books. Again, this is a pretty clear win as Magoosh does not offer any hardcopy prep books. All of the content Magoosh provides is digital.
So bottom line, if you’re more of an old-school type of student that prefers having a physical study tool so you can prep on the go, highlight key points, dog ear pages, and take notes in the margins, then Kaplan is your best bet.
The second win for Magoosh would be their score guarantee. The short story here is that Magoosh offers a 10-point score increase guarantee. This is pretty amazing considering that the cost of their course is less than $400.
To be clear, there is some fine print attached to that guarantee, which you should definitely check out.
Nonetheless, compared to Kaplan, who just guarantees that you will “raise your score” (in other words, Kaplan only offers a one point score increase guarantee), Magoosh wins. They clearly separate themselves from Kaplan in this department.
24/7 Email Assistance
The third win for Magoosh is the fact they offer students 24/7 email support. Essentially, how it works is that if you ever get puzzled by a practice problem or don’t understand a specific topic, concept, or testing strategy, instead of wasting a bunch of time trying to figure it out yourself, you can instead email one of Magoosh’s remote MCAT tutors.
They will then respond with a detailed answer typically within 24 hours. It’s pretty helpful, and I actually thought this structure worked well. It’s just nice knowing you always have a backstop in case you get hung up as you progress through your study materials.
Content Access Period
The final advantage for Magoosh is content access period. As noted above, if you purchase Magoosh’s premium course, you get 12 months of access. By comparison, Kaplan’s courses come with just six months of access to start.
Now, Kaplan does offer students the option to extend the access period to 12 months if they want, but unfortunately, it does cost an extra $500 to do so.
Thus, if you plan on taking the MCAT twice, whether because you plan on treating your first attempt as a trial run or you’re super busy and plan on spreading your studying out over an extended period of time, Magoosh is better option.
Should you choose Kaplan or Magoosh to help you prepare for the MCAT? Well, in my mind, the answer to this question simply boils down to your budget.
If you’re working with a limited budget and you simply can’t afford to spend more than a few hundred dollars on a prep course, then Magoosh is clearly the answer. For just $400, the bang for the buck value you get with Magoosh is incredible. Plus, Magoosh offers the better score increase guarantee as well.
With that being said, if money is not an issue and you just want the best MCAT course period, then there’s no question that Kaplan wins. Kaplan’s MCAT course is more comprehensive and much more well-rounded than Magoosh’s.
Not only does Kaplan smash Magoosh in terms of quantity of study materials and features, but the quality is also superior. Plus, our team values the fact that Kaplan actually offers live classes and prep books.
Bottom line, if your goal is to score over 510 on the MCAT, Kaplan will likely give you the best shot of doing so.
What is the difference between the Kaplan and Magoosh MCAT courses?
The biggest difference between the MCAT prep courses from Kaplan and Magoosh is pricing. The courses from Magoosh are much more affordable than those from Kaplan. That being said, Kaplan’s MCAT course is incredibly more robust.
Which MCAT prep course is better, Magoosh or Kaplan?
In terms of overall quality of study materials, Kaplan is much better than Magoosh. Kaplan beats Magoosh when it comes to video lessons, live classes, prep books, and practice tests.
How accurate are the practice tests from Magoosh and Kaplan?
The MCAT practice tests from Magoosh and Kaplan both closely resemble the real exam. Both companies do a good job mimicking the question content and format of the MCAT to help prepare you for actual test day. That being said, head-to-head, we think Kaplan’s are a closer match for the real thing.