Kaplan Online Course Review

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Kaplan MCAT Prep Review

Our in-depth analysis and review of the Kaplan MCAT prep course

When it comes to MCAT prep, Kaplan is about the biggest game in town. They’ve been helping students prep for over 80 years, and have one of the most comprehensive MCAT prep curriculums on the market. But does a robust curriculum and years of teaching to the MCAT mean this prep course is the best? We dig in and closely examine the Kaplan MCAT prep course and all of its features in this detailed review.

Use the jump-to links above to quickly skip ahead to the exact section you’re most interested in.

Kaplan MCAT Prep Video Review

In the video above, John from the Test Prep Insight team covers the major pros and cons of the Kaplan MCAT prep course. For more detail, be sure to continue reading our full written review below.

Kaplan MCAT Live Online Course

Kaplan MCAT Prep

  • Self-Paced Online
  • Live Classes
  • High-quality video-based lessons with ample graphics and strong content
  • 2,900+ realistic practice problems in Qbank with advanced filtering
  • TONS of prep material with 700 hours worth of content
  • The practice problem explanations are a little brief (would like to see more detail)
Kaplan MCAT Live Online Course

Kaplan MCAT Course Options & Pricing

To help set the stage for our evaluation of the Kaplan MCAT course features, I think it’s most helpful to quickly run through the different prep packages that Kaplan offers at each level. In short, Kaplan offers 3 different prep packages for students to choose from: On Demand CourseLive Online Course and Bootcamp.

Kaplan’s cheapest prep option, the On Demand Course, will cost you around $1,800. This course is self-paced and allows you to study from anywhere at any time. It is designed for students who require a flexible study schedule and prefer to learn alone. In terms of how this pricing stacks up, this course format does run about 8x the cost of budget test prep provider Magoosh’s MCAT prep package, but as discussed below, the difference in quantity and quality of study material is huge.

At the next level up, the Live Online Course generally runs for around $2,500 and offers students a set schedule of live online classes. In this course format, you tune in to regularly scheduled classes along with a number other students and watch the instructor give their lesson live. For those students seeking more interpersonal communication and a real group feel, this course will likely be your best best.

Finally, for those dead set on crushing the MCAT, Kaplan offers an intensive Bootcamp course. This course is not for the faint of heart, lasting 5-6 weeks during the summer, with lessons every day and strict schedules. It does not come cheap though, pricing in at around $7,000.

Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.

Evaluation of Lessons & Coursework

OK, now that we have the lay of the land in terms of prep options, let’s get down to our thoughts on the Kaplan MCAT course. And I won’t hide the ball until the end here. I’ll just start by saying that our team generally loved this MCAT course. It’s undeniably first rate in terms of content, structure and delivery, though it did have a couple shortcomings as discussed further below.

To start, Kaplan’s MCAT curriculum covers every possible topic you need to know to fully prep for the MCAT. Now, the course structure is not designed in a very linear manner, covering different units with smatterings of content reviews. But it’s hard to make coursework for the MCAT sequential given the sheer quantity of different scientific material you must learn. Honestly, it’s just plain difficult to build a course that covers such a wide swath of content and seems like it flows naturally, so I don’t fault Kaplan for that. But coursework order aside, the Kaplan curriculum is unquestionably comprehensive and will touch every scientific micro-topic that may appear on the exam.

Kaplan MCAT lesson
Kaplan MCAT lesson example

In considering Kaplan’s online coursework (more on the live classes below), the curriculum is broken down into units. There are three units in total, with the first two covering substantive content reviews and the third unit being an all-inclusive review and practice test module. The first two units are each divided up across MCAT topic specific sections, such as biology, organic chemistry and physics. From there, the topics are further broken down into subtopics, such as thermodynamics, bonding and chemical interactions, and the endocrine system. It is within each of these subtopic modules that you get the real material, which consists of a mix of interactive video-based lessons, quizzes and book assignments.

The coursework really revolves around the interactive video-based lessons, with the book assignments and quizzes serving to reinforce and build on that material. These video lessons are very high quality and I was personally really impressed with them. Each starts with a nice intro slide and your instructor appearing onscreen introducing themselves and what you will be learning in the session ahead. The video then transitions into the lesson, with a really sharp digital whiteboard presenting the lesson text, instructor notes and various graphics. All along, the instructor verbalizes their lesson over the digital whiteboard.

For visual learners, these 130+ interactive science review video lessons will be absolute money. Every slide in the lesson presentation contains a rich diversity of pictures, graphs, drawings, formulas, and various graphics that make it easy to retain concepts. There is also a short form outline that appears along the left side of most lessons. This allows you to kind of put things in perspective mentally and see how concepts build on each other, and it also tracks exactly where you are in the lesson.

I personally loved the production value and structured feel of these lessons. The quality is very professional, making for a more effective learning experience. In addition, because each lesson starts with the same type of intro, even though the content across the units is kind of jumpy, it gives it a structured, well-organized feel.

Kaplan MCAT lesson slide
Another look at a Kaplan MCAT lesson slide

In addition, the book assignments and quizzes within each lesson module are very nice complements to the video lessons. The quizzes serve to reinforce the material you learn from the video lessons and book reading assignments, and sometimes even act as diagnostic tools before the material is covered. Between the reading assignments, video-based instruction, and quizzes, the entire online curriculum provides for a formidable prep option.

Beyond the lessons and coursework, Kaplan also gives you access to its adaptive Qbank. This tool allows you to build customized practice problem sets based on question type, timing and number of questions. It contains over 2,900 practice problems and adapts to your skill level, making questions easier or harder depending on your progression. It is a significant value add, as it allows you to zero in on your weaknesses and improve on those topics.

Accompanying each practice problem is a text explanation, breaking down the question and explaining why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. These explanations were one of the areas of the coursework I was not totally satisfied with. While the explanations were effective in communicating why my answer choice was correct or incorrect, the level of detail was just a little subpar. The text was brief and to the point, which is understandable given that Kaplan needs to write 2,900+ of these explanations, but I just expected more. It would have been nice to see some more detailed analysis, even if it went further than the immediate issue.

Kaplan MCAT answer explanation
Explanation to Kaplan MCAT practice question

All in all, Kaplan’s lessons, coursework and practice materials add up to over 700 hours of prep time. At least that’s what they say, and honestly, I ‘ll have to take their word for it because it was more than I could ever get through. And given that the AAMC recommends just 300 to 350 hours of prep time, you should have more than your fill of studying with Kaplan. So if quantity of prep material is one of your MCAT prep concerns, I’d forget that right now with Kaplan.

All things considered, I was extremely impressed with the Kaplan coursework and lessons. I knew going into my class that Kaplan would offer a solid prep course, but I had no idea it would offer such an extensive and in-depth curriculum. I was almost overwhelmed at times with the pure amount of study material Kaplan throws at you. But it was more than just quantity – it was also the quality. Kaplan’s live classes (discussed further below), online video instruction, quizzes and everything in between were all top shelf. I was left with very little to gripe about with respect to the MCAT content and coursework.

Kaplan MCAT Prep Books

In addition to your online content (and live classes, assuming you purchase a course with classroom component), Kaplan also offers some top tier study books. In total, Kaplan will ship you 8 hard copy books with the purchase of a prep course. Of these 8 books, 7 are subject specific review books, and 1 is a lesson book.

As you may expect from Kaplan, these books are all extremely thorough and well-written. Each subject review book covers a major MCAT topic (such as organic chemistry or biology) and goes into great detail. These are not light reads by any means – they are content heavy, comprehensive prep books designed to cover every nook and cranny of MCAT material. And that is another small complaint I had with this course – the books are so detailed that reading can be tedious at times. But it’s also a necessary evil given the amount of material you need to learn.

The one lesson book generally tracks with and supplements your coursework. It is a very nice complement to the classwork and provides a slightly different perspective on material through its content.

If you’re big on learning via text, you will love these prep books. I found them to be really well-written and structured. The books flow naturally and the concepts within the subject review books in particular, are very well-articulated.

Kaplan MCAT Practice Tests

For the students who prefer to learn by doing, practice tests are critical – and are often at the heart of their analysis when considering which prep course is best for their needs. All in all, Kaplan gives students access to 16 full-length practice tests. This is a very respectable number of practice exams and is bested only by the Gold Standard MCAT Prep, which provides 20 tests. While 16 exams doesn’t sound like much, at 7 hours+ per exam, that is a lot of hours spent simulating the real MCAT.

Kaplan MCAT qbank
Question from Kaplan MCAT practice test

The quality of Kaplan’s MCAT practice tests are above average. They are not so exceptional that I would flag them as a course highlight, but they are more than serviceable and do a fairly nice job of mimicking the real MCAT. It is clear that the questions are expertly written and the practice test platform is very realistic with respect to mirroring the real MCAT. The bottom line is that I had no qualms with the quality or quantity of the Kaplan practice tests.

The Kaplan MCAT Class Experience

So if you sign up for the live online option with Kaplan, you get 12 three-hour sessions with a Kaplan instructor. Kaplan doesn’t say anywhere on their website whether all of their instructors have scored in a certain percentile or better on the MCAT, but my teacher let us know that she had scored in the 94th percentile. Not that high scores always translate to good teaching, but it was nice to know nonetheless.

Kaplan mcat prep review
Top-notch MCAT instructors

Our instructor followed the Kaplan curriculum to a “T”, never deviating from the script, except to provide some quick side tips and insights not found in the lesson book. These were always super helpful and I was sure to note them on a separate pad of paper. I’ve reviewed a number of MCAT courses at this point, and I would say on the whole that the Kaplan instructor generally stuck to the script more and offered less “side” notes than other MCAT classes (such as Prep101). But this also kept things streamlined in class.

She was very serious about MCAT prep and staying on pace with our course; however, she also had a dry sense of humor and did a fairly good job keeping the material light. The MCAT is content heavy and it’s hard to keep people focused, so you need that lighthearted element from time to time.

After most class sessions, I left with my brain feeling like oatmeal. Kaplan throws a ton of material at you in three hours and you are expected to stay engaged and soak it all in. It can be tough at times, but I definitely felt like I was getting money’s worth out of every three-hour session.

User Experience and Digital Platform

Like most everything else Kaplan does, they did their online content portal the right way. Kaplan’s online platform has a great layout and some of the best functionality I have seen, rivaled only by Princeton Review. The dashboard is clean and simple, yet very professional. Across the top banner you will see the four main sections of online content: Study Plan, Resources Library, MCAT Channel, and Adaptive Qbank.

This layout makes the portal incredibly easy to navigate and I never had any issues. In addition, the drill-down method of locating lessons, quizzes and the like is very intuitive. If I have one complaint, it’s that each time you open a lesson, it pops up in a new browser tab. After watching about 10 video lessons, this becomes annoying as your browser gets cluttered and you lose track of which lesson is which if you want to bounce back-and-forth. Apart from that small complaint, I really like the user interface and experience of the Kaplan online platform.

Kaplan MCAT Supplemental Resources

In addition to the core curriculum, Kaplan offers students a number of additional resources to assist in their studies. The best resource in my opinion is Kaplan’s MCAT Channel. Through this medium, Kaplan offers students 6 live video lessons each week, as well as 90+ hours of prerecorded video webcasts. Each of these lessons serves to complement the core curriculum and takes a deeper dive into a specific MCAT topic. The thrust of each video is to dig into the nitty gritty of particularly tough subjects and allow students to gain a better understanding of these more complex concepts.

Kaplan mcat channel
The Kaplan MCAT channel

Each MCAT Channel video features a Kaplan instructor live via webcam in the upper corner, with a digital whiteboard taking up the lion’s share of the screen, and live student chat feature along the sidebar. The instructor gives their lesson, making notes on the screen and constantly asking for student feedback and participation. The lesson goes deep into the finer points of the material and challenges students’ understanding of a topic.

I personally really like the MCAT Channel videos, but also recognize that the vast majority of them have limited value for some students. If you are already strong on a certain subject, like electromagnetism for example, watching a one-hour deep dive video on it may not be the best use of your time. But if you need help on that particular topic, these videos can be a blessing. It will really depend topic-to-topic.

In addition to the MCAT Channel, it is also worth noting that Kaplan gives you access to all official AAMC practice materials. Among other things, this includes practice tests, questions and section tests, The AAMC practice materials are of high quality (as they come from the makers of the MCAT) and their value should definitely not be overlooked.

Kaplan 1-on-1 MCAT Tutoring

If you are struggling with a few particular topics and need some specialized attention to get a quick score boost in those areas, private tutoring may be a consideration. For those students who need it, Kaplan does offer private 1-on-1 tutoring packages. These packages are not cheap, but do include access to the Kaplan On Demand Course – so if you’re thinking about tutoring at the outset, factor in that you would get all of the On Demand Course access and materials with such a purchase.

The Kaplan packages provide 10, 20, 30, or 40 hours of private tutoring. They range in price from around $3,000 for the 10-hour course up to $6,200 or so for the 40-hour course. You can do the math to see that those rates are not cheap. But just keep in mind that its not just tutoring you getting – it’s also the on-demand course access.

While I didn’t personally use Kaplan’s tutoring services, I would imagine that they would be quite strong. Their instructors are generally regarded as some of the best MCAT experts around. I would fully expect them to be more than serviceable as private tutors. If you’re looking for tutoring from a separate source, I would note that I have used Blueprint MCAT’s private tutoring services previously, and found that program to be exceptional.

Content Access Period

With the purchase of a Kaplan MCAT course, you will get 5 months of access to their online content. For most students this will be plenty of time to accomplish their MCAT prep, but for some, 5 months may be pushing it. The AAMC recommends 300 to 350 hours of study time prior to sitting for the MCAT.

As such, if you’ve got a busy life and need to study around work and school, that 300 or so hours could take you 6+ months. If that’s the case, you may need to think hard about the Kaplan access period. For others, 5 months should be just fine.

Does Kaplan Have a Mobile App?

The short answer is yes, though its value is dubious. Kaplan does offer a mobile app for MCAT study; however, it contains only 1,000 study flashcards. While other test prep providers such as Magoosh offer mobile apps that connect with your online account and provide access to your core study materials, the Kaplan app simply provides an ancillary study resource.

With that said, the Kaplan flashcards on the app are quite good, covering a wide range of MCAT topics. You also get access to a performance tracker through the app, so you can measure your progress and overall stats to see where you need help. For quick hit, on-the-go studying, the Kaplan mobile app has some value, but apart from that, I don’t see it as a main study resource.

Kaplan Higher Score Guarantee

As some of you may have noticed plastered all over their website, Kaplan does provide a higher score guarantee. If your MCAT score doesn’t improve after having used the Kaplan prep course, they will give you 100% of your money back, or let you retake their course. There are some requirements around this promise that must be met, but if you qualify, this is a really nice safety net to have.

Kaplan Refund Policy

If you’re not totally satisfied with the Kaplan MCAT course or just change your mind in the first 3 days after purchasing, Kaplan will give you 100% of your tuition back. And if you change your mind in the 4-7 post-purchase day range, they will give you 75% of purchase price back. In either case, that refund does not include the cost of shipping the hard copy books to you (which you must return).

This is a fairly generous policy and offers students a nice cool-off period after making such a large purchase. Note though that these policies do not generally apply to the Bootcamp program.

Verdict: Kaplan MCAT Prep Course Review

The Kaplan MCAT course is an all-around, rock-solid prep package that gives you everything you need to prep for the MCAT. It is a little pricey when standing up against other prep options, but the quality and quantity of study material you get with Kaplan cannot be disputed. The video lessons through the online platform are top notch, the live classes are effectively packed with high yield subject matter, and you get access to a ton of great practice materials. In total, all of the instruction, book work and practice add up to over 700 hours of prep time.

My main two negatives with the Kaplan course center around the brevity of the practice problem explanations and the lack of usefulness of their mobile app; but I feel that these two main complaints are far outweighed by the otherwise stellar study resources. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a tried and true, results driven prep course that you know you can rely on to get you fully prepped for the MCAT, I think Kaplan is a great selection.

How much does the Kaplan MCAT course cost?

The Kaplan MCAT prep options range in price from about $1,800 on the inexpensive end for their self-paced program, all the way up to around $7,000 for their intensive, 5-week bootcamp course.

How many total hours of study material do I get with Kaplan?

All of Kaplan’s MCAT guided instruction, book work, practice material and resources total up to over 700 hours of prep time. Given that the AAMC recommends 300 to 350 hours of study time before taking the MCAT, this is more than double the recommended amount of prep.

Will the Kaplan MCAT prep course raise my score?

Taking the Kaplan MCAT prep course will very likely boost your score. Compared to self-studying, the level of practice material and resources you will get with Kaplan will almost certainly have a positive effect on your overall MCAT score.

Kaplan MCAT Course Review


Practice Materials

This post contains affiliate links (at no extra cost to you). Please read our disclosure for more information.

Kaplan is among the top commercial MCAT prep course options and provides a wide variety of course deliveries including Live Online, In Person, On Demand, Tutoring & Consulting, as well as Winter and Summer Intensives.

When you finish this Kaplan MCAT course review, you’ll have all the reasons you’ll need to either buy or skip this MCAT course. 


  • Adaptive Qbank makes for efficient studying
  • One-on-one coaching add-on available for all courses
  • MCAT Channel offers live online elective instruction 6 days/week
  • Course offerings vary from on-demand, live-online, in-person, and intensive


  • Curriculum is designed for a lot of study to be done outside of the classroom
  • Course offerings are expensive – even for on-demand
  • Practice tests are notoriously more difficult than actual MCAT

About Kaplan MCAT

kaplan mcat course review

Kaplan offers a suite of MCAT prep options that include on-demand, live online, in person, as well as various tutoring and consulting packages.

With the largest network on classroom network on classroom sites nationwide (currently located in 43 states), many students actually have the option to take this course in-person. All of these courses are backed with a higher score or your money back guarantee.

Curriculum Review

Regardless of the course option you choose, the Kaplan MCAT course prep products all utilize the same core curriculum. This curriculum utilizes the adaptive Qbank, course materials, access to all the AAMC practice materials, and a range of 525-700 hours of instruction and practice.

Kaplan creates a personalized study plan that guides users through 125 hours of live instruction and 400+ hours of online resources. This personalized study plan is crafted to get you quicker score gains in less time.

All instructors for Kaplan MCAT must be score-qualified and trained on all areas of the MCAT. All of the courses on Kaplan are backed by a higher score guaranteed or your money back.


Kaplan’s MCAT course platform integrates videos as well as text-based communication technology. All online classrooms incorporate an interactive whiteboard tool that helps to create an interactive virtual classroom feel.

Kaplan’s adaptive Qbank will challenge you with just the right level of difficulty, as it’s powered by a smart algorithm that learns about your ability and provides you with questions that will provide the biggest opportunities for growth. At the end of the day, this adaptive technology saves you time with targeted practice that is both effective and efficient.

kaplan mcat

Who Needs This Course

The Kaplan MCAT Course is best for those who have the budget and are trying to choose between the Princeton Review and Kaplan. Among this group of potential students, the ideal user of Kaplan’s MCAT product is someone who does not need an extremely detailed MCAT prep course. If you missed out on certain classes before taking the MCAT, we recommend you opting for The Princeton Review. You can read our detailed Princeton Review MCAT review for more details. If, however, you are looking for a decent review of what is to be tested on the MCAT and need a course to keep you on-task and structured, then this is the perfect MCAT prep course for you!

Why would you prefer to have fewer details and information when it comes to the MCAT? Well, the easiest answer to that is to keep you from getting overwhelmed with things that may not be tested on the MCAT or that do not need full detailed explanations to do well on the test. For those who have already taken the classes needed before the MCAT, then you will be fine opting for the Kaplan and feel a bit more empowered as you work your way through the material.

Who Doesn’t Need the Kaplan MCAT Course

Students who do not do well in this course are those who need deep, detailed instruction and do not work well on their own study time. This course provides the general structure and outline for studying, but the bulk of studying still has to be done on your own and requires additional resources such as Anki, which you can use for free. If you do not have the discipline or crave more structure, we encourage you to look at TPR.

Course Pricing Options

Kaplan In Person

Price: $2,499

Summary: 700 hours of total instruction and practice: 15 full-length MCAT practice tests, 10,000 practice items, Qbank, 130 interactive Science Review videos, AAMC practice material, 7-book MCAT Subject Review set.

Kaplan In Person Plus

Price: $2,999

Summary: In Person offerings + 3 hours of 1-on-1 coaching, MCAT Foundations of Biochemistry (self-paced), MCAT Foundations of Behavioral Science (self-paced)

Kaplan Live Online

Price: $2,499

Summary: 700 hours of total instruction and practice: 15 full-length MCAT practice tests, 10,000 practice items, Qbank, 130 interactive Science Review videos, AAMC practice material, 7-book MCAT Subject Review set.  

Kaplan Live Online Plus

Price: $2,999

Summary: Live Online offerings + 3 hours of 1-on-1 coaching, MCAT Foundations of Biochemistry (self-paced), MCAT Foundations of Behavioral Science (self-paced) 

Kaplan Self-Paced

Price: $1,999

Summary: 540 hours of of total instruction & practice: complete MCAT course available recorded 24/7, 15 full-length MCAT practice tests, 10,000 practice questions, Qbank, 130 interactive Science Review videos, AAMC practice material, 7-book MCAT Subject Review set, online access for 5 months

Kaplan Self-Paced-Plus

Price: $2,499

Summary: Kaplan Self-Paced offerings + unlimited access to the MCAT Channel, 3 hours of 1-on-1 coaching, MCAT Foundations of Biochemistry (self-paced), MCAT Foundations of Behavioral Science (self-paced)

Kaplan MCAT Winter Intensive Live Online

Price: $6,999

Summary: 240-hour strategically structured programming that integrates strategy, content review, personalized plan, plus access to all Kaplan MCAT course offerings like AAMC materials, 7-book set, etc. Includes weekly one-on-one coaching with your personal MCAT coach totalling 12 hours.

Kaplan Summer Intensive In Person

Price: $9,499

Summary: This is a 6-week experience led by the highest-rated MCAT faculty across the US. The course is focused on MCAT strategy, content review, and personalized study plans. After lectures, there are small-group reviews and weekly private tutoring. Each student will take 5 classroom simulated MCAT practice tests to ensure that they are fully prepared for test day.

Add Room & Board: $3,500

Kaplan MCAT Tutoring Options

Kaplan Tutoring Live Online/ In Person (15 hours)

Price: $3,999

Summary:  One-on-one tutoring includes a full In Person or Live Online classroom course. You will have access to all the offerings of the Live Online or In Person Kaplan MCAT prep courses. With 15 hours, you’ll be able to focus on the greatest easy score gains.

Kaplan Tutoring Live Online/ In Person (25 hours)

Price: $4,899

Summary: Same offerings as the 15-hour tutoring, with 25-hours you will have a chance to not only review the MCAT sections but to go deeper into strategies.

Kaplan Tutoring Live Online/ In Person (35 hours)

Price: $5,799

Summary: Same offerings as the 15-hour tutoring but with 35 hours, this tutoring is for someone looking to reach the highest score possible.

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