Altius MCAT vs Kaplan MCAT: Which to Choose?
In this article, we analyse both prep courses side by side so you can make an informed decision about which is best for you.
14:55 16 December 2021
Many students get caught up in the debate over whether to go with Altius or Kaplan when it comes to choosing an MCAT prep course. People are fascinated by Altius because of their pupils' excellent average grades, but they don't appear to know enough about them to commit, especially given the hefty price tag. In this article, we analyse both prep courses side by side and point out the differences so you can make an informed decision about which is best for you.
Overall coursework rating
Despite the fact that Kaplan offers a highly thorough prep curriculum that includes a variety of study areas, we prefer Altius' training. When you add together Kaplan's whole MCAT curriculum, you're looking at almost 700 hours of study time. But having masses of stuff isn't enough. To properly prepare for and ace the MCAT, you'll need to be organized and efficient in your preparation. And we just discovered that the Altius program is more concise and well-designed.
Altius' two core methods of education – small group class sessions and one-on-one mentorship – are both simple and effective ways of teaching the things you need to know. Altius' practice work is also well interwoven into their curriculum. Overall, we favor Altius, despite the fact that both firms have great curriculums.
One of the primary aspects of the Altius program is their live classwork, as I just indicated. And calling them courses is a bit of a misnomer because they're more akin to workshops. Each class comprises only about 8 individuals, making the sessions very small and allowing you to get to know your Altius instructor and colleagues. To use a comparison, the gap between Kaplan and Altius in terms of live classes is comparable to the difference between a Bio 100 lecture hall with 200 students and a Chem 305 lab with 10 students.
The smaller size just allows for more individualized training and engagement. You're being asked to participate more frequently, but you don't want to be caught off guard (at the very least for fear of being embarrassed). Bottom line, while we enjoy Kaplan's live online lessons, they pale in comparison to Altius' small group sessions, especially when you consider that you can expect to spend between 60 and 200 hours in class with Altius.
Questions and tests
When it comes to MCAT study materials, many people are just interested in knowing how many practice questions and exams are included. While this is vital, especially for those who learn best by "doing" and BURNING through practice work, the quality of the practice material is far more important. It's far more crucial that you prepare with questions and mock examinations that closely resemble the difficulty, length, and content of genuine MCAT problems. As a result, on exam day, your pace will be perfect, and you won't feel unprepared because your practice questions were too easy.
Altius, rather than Kaplan, we feel, provides more realistic MCAT practice questions and examinations. We've utilized both sets of practice work extensively, and on average, Altius' content feels like a better fit. Furthermore, we believe their MCAT practice exams are among the best and most realistic available.
Tutoring and mentorship
Apart from the small live group sessions, Altius's 1:1 mentorship is another area where they excel. Rather than charging extra for coaching (like Kaplan does), they include it as part of their exam preparation packages. The weekly 1-on-1 meetings are, in fact, at the core of your program. Your mentor, who functions more like a tutor or coach, keeps track of your progress and responds to any questions you might have - substantial concerns about difficult topic, pacing technique, creating a cram timetable, and so on. Everything is up for grabs.
Something about the individual direction and assistance provided by this element of the course makes the preparation process more bearable. It might just be because you have someone in your corner every week to gripe to, but it is, in my opinion, the Altius course's best value add.
Digital Platform & User Experience
On this subject, I'll remark that Altius appears to place a greater emphasis on the "human" side of preparation, such as live class sessions, one-on-one coaching, and email help. This course's strength isn't flashy, cutting-edge technology. Their internet platform is rather simple. Kaplan, on the other hand, has a highly attractive and user-friendly internet platform.
Everything is well-designed and well-organized, which should come as no surprise considering Kaplan's size and resources. This may or may not be important to you. Kaplan, on the other hand, wins for those searching for a superior digital platform.
Pricing & Course Options
When it comes to dollars and cents, Kaplan is the somewhat less expensive option. While their single live online class costs $2,500, the Altius packages with small classrooms and 1-on-1 coaching start at that amount. Altius' more basic course options are a different story, and it has an advantage over Kaplan for on-demand study courses, but the live class alternatives are the true apples-to-apples comparison.
While many of Altius' courses are more expensive than Kaplan's $2,500, they can often be obtained for $800 off with discounts – so if you go that route, be sure to look for Altius promo codes.
While we admire both prep courses and consider them to be among the finest in the education niche, there is no disputing that Altius is the superior option. While we admire Kaplan's on-demand video classes, extensive prep books, and mountains of study material, we think Altius' individualized assistance and hands-on support make it the better prep choice.
There's a reason they guarantee scores of at least 515, and their pupils consistently achieve that goal. There's simply too much for Kaplan to overcome between the tiny live class sessions, 1:1 mentorship, very realistic practice exams, and reduced curriculum. MCAT prep courses are expensive no matter how you slice it, but if you're willing to spend a few thousand dollars, we recommend Altius — we believe they give students a higher chance of nailing a perfect score. I hope this review is of assistance so you can choose the greatest MCAT preparation course for yourself!