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Prep101 vs Princeton Review MCAT
Determine which MCAT course is best for you between Princeton Review and Prep101
Princeton Review has been one of the most popular names in MCAT prep for decades, however, new companies like Prep101 have recently emerged to give aspiring medical school students more choices than ever. In this comparison, we cover the pros and cons you need to know so you can make a final decision as to which prep course is the better fit for your learning style and budget.
Given that this is a lengthy, detailed comparison, we’ve included jump-to links above for your convenience.
Video: Princeton Review Or Prep101?
In the video above, John from the Test Prep Insight team compares and contrasts the MCAT prep courses from Prep101 and Princeton Review. For more detail, be sure to continue reding our full, written comparison below.
In order to keep this comparison focused, and to the point, I’m going to run down the key areas where I see each company winning, and having an advantage over the other (as opposed to simply providing an overview of each prep course).
Therefore, let’s start with Princeton Review. I have them winning in five key categories.
First up, I prefer the video lessons from Princeton Review over those from Prep101.
Not only do the Princeton Review instructors regularly incorporate analogies and mnemonics to help hammer home specific formulas and concepts, but I also like how they use graphics throughout the lessons, both of which I think really help with material retention.
The Prep101 video lessons, on the other hand, are more like recorded classes and don’t have the same upfront thought and design behind them.
If you are a visual learner, you may also want to check out the MCAT video lessons from Blueprint and Kaplan as well.
Live Workshops & Office Hours
Next, I like that with Princeton Review, you get unlimited access to their livestream workshops and office hours.
Basically, Princeton Review’s MCAT instructors hold live webinars almost every night where they dive deep into specific MCAT topic weaknesses, and answer any questions that may have popped up during your studying.
And just to be clear, even students who purchase the basic self-paced course from Princeton Review get access to these sessions, which is very cool.
In my opinion, these livestream workshops and Q&A opportunities add a ton of value. For the record, Kaplan’s MCAT courses also include access to livestream workshops.
Detailed Score Reports
Although Prep101 technically offers more practice tests, I’m actually a big fan of the score reports Princeton Review provides their students after exams.
Their report metrics are super detailed, and really help you identify your weaknesses so that you know how to allocate your time moving forward in order to improve.
With Princeton Review’s Self-Paced and Live Online courses, the company offers a higher score guarantee or your money back.
Then for students who are looking to really crush the MCAT, Princeton also offers 513+ and 515+ courses, which as their names imply, include a guarantee that you will score at least 513 or 515 on the MCAT, which is pretty awesome.
These are some of the best guarantees in the entire MCAT prep space, and other companies just aren’t willing to make these kind of promises. For comparison purposes, Prep101 does not offer any sort of guarantee – only offer a free course repeat policy.
Lastly, with Princeton Review, once you’re finished with the MCAT, you also get access to the company’s Medical School Admissions Advantage sessions to help you prep for the application process.
These sessions include all sorts of insights into what admissions committees are actually looking for and helpful tips and tricks to help your application stand out from the crowd. This is a cool feature that a lot of other prep companies charge for.
Now that you have an idea of the areas in which Princeton Review excels, let’s turn the tables and discuss the major advantages of using Prep101 to help you get ready for the MCAT.
Prep101 Is More Affordable
Simply put, the Prep101 course is more affordable than the offerings from Princeton Review (except their Self-Paced course).
The Prep101 course costs around $2,300, while the comparable courses from Princeton Review cost upwards of $2,800. So all in all, you’re looking at savings of least $500 by opting to go with Prep101.
With that said, it’s worth mentioning that Princeton Review seems to be more aggressive with sales and special promotions. In fact, Princeton Review regularly offers discounts in the 10 to 15% off range.
Next, Prep101 easily beats Princeton Review when it comes to live class time.
Prep101 provides 138 hours of live instruction, while the Princeton Review Live Online course comes with just 40. Therefore, if live classes are really important to you, take note of this.
With that said, if you’re willing to spend up for Princeton Review’s 513+ or 515+ courses, they include 123 hours and 195 hours of live instruction, respectively.
It’s also worth mentioning that beyond pure volume, as far as quality of instruction goes, I’d say it’s a dead heat. The live classes from both companies are very good, and are right up there with Kaplan and Blueprint. You really can’t go wrong either way.
Next, I like that with Prep101, each student gets their own MCAT coach to essentially hold their hand throughout the entire prep process.
Your coach will help you design your specific study plan, they’ll answer any strategy-related questions you may have, and just generally help keep you motivated and on-track to reach your goal.
Overall, this feature just helps give the Prep101 course a more intimate and personalized feel.
Detailed Prep Books
Lastly, I’m a big fan of the Prep101 workbooks that track with the live classes. And I’m not really talking about the workbooks themselves, but rather the annotated notes that the Prep101 instructors have marked up in the margins for you.
Not only do these notes help the material sink-in, but they’re also great for sort of flagging you where to direct your focus and attention. These annotated notes save you a lot of time and add real value.
Alright, it’s finally time for the big reveal – should you choose Prep101 or Princeton Review to help you prepare for the MCAT.
Well, it’s a really close call between the two companies. The Prep101 course definitely has a lot going for it with its price point and 100+ hours of quality live instruction, but ultimately, our team gives Princeton Review the slight edge in this matchup, primarily due to their video lessons, unlimited access to live workshops and Q&A sessions, course structure, and their score guarantees.
Collectively, if our team had to choose one, it would be Princeton Review.
What is the difference between Prep101 and Princeton Review?
The MCAT prep courses from Prep101 and Princeton Review differ in several ways, including pricing, live instruction, video lessons, and score guarantees.
Which MCAT prep course is better, Prep101 or Princeton Review?
After testing and evaluating the MCAT study materials from both companies, it’s an extremely difficult decision, but our team ultimately thinks Princeton Review provides the more effective MCAT courses from top to bottom.
Does Princeton Review and Prep101 offer money back guarantees?
Princeton Review offers a score improvement guarantee or your money back, while Prep101 does not.