Prep101 is relatively new name in the USA MCAT prep industry and but it is fast gaining popularity. Known for offering the most extensive and affordable classroom instruction among MCAT prep courses available today, Prep101 provides an array of options – from in-person classes to live online sessions, and even on-demand content.
But is this the right MCAT prep course for you? Dive into this comprehensive Prep101 review to understand our perspective on who would get the most out of this course.
Even with a powerful curriculum, experienced coaches, online classes, and Examcrackers study guides, is Prep101 MCAT worth it? Here’s our review of this course.
What we will cover?
Prep101 offers two course selections: ‘Classroom Plus‘ and ‘Live Online Flex‘, each priced identically at $2,295.
Both course choices represent a blend of learning methods.
In the ‘Classroom Plus’ option, every class is provided in three formats – in-person, live online, and recorded.
‘Live Online Flex’ option ensures every live online class is also recorded and made available for on-demand viewing.
Prep101 course structure is designed to cultivate your knowledge through a rich blend of study materials, practice exercises and interactive live classes.
The course is divided into 44 lessons as shown below.
Each part uses a three-step method.
Pre-Class: Before you dive into the actual classes, you are encouraged to read the chosen chapter of the Examcrackers study guide. This preparatory step is complemented by 25 to 30 practice questions.
During Class: The heart of the course lies in the live classes, each bringing a unique perspective as they are conducted by a variety of tutors, each an expert in their respective subject. These sessions, hosted on Zoom, offer a dynamic and engaging learning environment. Each live class is structured into two comprehensive segments, spanning approximately four hours in total. In the initial segment, your tutor conducts a detailed lecture, providing a thorough review of a specific topic. This is coupled with practice problems to consolidate your understanding, drawing insights from the Prep101 workbooks. This well-rounded approach ensures you get the most out of the program, balancing self-study, practice, and live instruction.
The following segment, which typically takes up half the time, immerses students in a practical learning experience that includes an in-class-exam (ICE). Once the test is completed, your instructor will walk you through the entire exam. This review is not simply about right or wrong answers; it is a comprehensive analysis aimed at equipping you with effective strategies and useful tips that could significantly enhance your performance in future tests.
Post Class: After the live classes conclude, you can extend your learning journey to the AAMC Prep Hub. Here, you’ll find a series of questions that correspond to the topics discussed in class, providing an excellent opportunity for you to cement your understanding and apply what you’ve learned. The program’s structure ensures a balanced blend of theoretical lessons and practical applications, offering you a comprehensive learning experience that is designed to help you achieve your best.
Optional Work: In case you need to enhance your weak spots or when you are simply free, your instructor can provide you with optional assignments. The assignments can include small video lessons that break down a large topic into small yet detailed information as well as optional practice sets, which cover everything learned in the class.
We really liked this unique classroom approach that Prep101 uses to promote active learning. It lets you get a head start on the material and then apply what you’ve learned in a live class, all within the same lesson. This can be an effective ways to memorize the lessons.
The Main Components of Prep101 Classes
Apart from what we have discussed above, the course can also include:
Personal Coach & Customized Study Plan
Here is a sample study plan for someone with weak science background
Next on the list is CARS workshops, which include 12 separate series that go for 2 hours. Furthermore, these CARS workshops are done throughout your course.
The CARS workshops use high-yield methods that help you when taking your test. These methods include reasoning within and over the passage, analyzing and mapping passages, use of simplified question stems, elimination strategies, and effective management of time.
Practice exams are given throughout the length of your course, with certain intervals that are set by the MCAT coach. These practice sets consist of 20 practice tests, that is, 10 exams from Altius (2300 questions), 5 exams from Examkrackers (1150 questions), and 5 tests from AAMC(1150 Questions). They can allow you to understand each topic that is covered in every class including how it is showcased in the actual exam.
On average, we found practice test questions are tougher than actual MCAT.
Practice tests are equipped with data-guided analytics that specifically target areas of weakness, be it certain topics, reasoning abilities, or types of questions. After you complete a practice test, you receive a score report that monitors your performance by various parameters like section, content category, type of question, reasoning skill, topic, and even subtopic. Leveraging this feedback, you can customize your next practice test to focus solely on the areas where improvement is needed.
On Demand Videos & Recorded Classes
After each class, the sessions are recorded and notes are added. You can find these in the MedReels folder of Student Portal section. So, you do not need to worry if you miss any class. The best part about class annotations is that you don’t have to worry about taking notes during class. This can help you focus on understanding the topic rather than distracted on taking down notes.
In addition to class recordings and notes, you also get access to 400+ on-demand videos. You also get 160+ videos where instructors explain solutions of official AAMC Question Packs.
Your Student Portal’s MedReels folder is packed with beneficial videos:
As the course goes on, recordings of the live online classes will be added.
Brief recaps of key topics in each subject will be posted when the course concludes.
There are 444 on-demand videos that correspond to the lessons in the Classroom Companions.
You’ll find 166 on-demand videos where instructors work through the AAMC Question Packs and Section Bank.
Prep101 provides following MCAT books and guides:
- 6 Examkrackers study guides: The 6 Examkrackers study guides form a complete package, comprehensively covering content review, including a verbal reasoning book with 101 passages for CARS prep.
- 6 Prep101 classroom companions: The 6 Prep101 classroom companions supplement the live online lessons, featuring interactive images and diagrams for hands-on learning.
- One CARS workbook
Having a friendly and patient instructor who understands how you solve certain questions is key to succeeding. Prep101 assesses potential instructors via auditions. Candidates are required to deliver a trial lesson to a class composed of MCAT prep students and evaluators. This process gauges the instructors’ capabilities in making the MCAT content understandable, easy to digest, and enjoyable.
At Prep101, you receive knowledgeable plus down-to-earth instructors with great communication skills that ensure you are consistently making progress.
Besides, the instructors are always willing to keep up with the flow of the entire class thus ensuring that no one is left behind.
As you begin, you’ll receive your instructor’s email address for any queries though Prep101 suggests asking detailed questions from class or practice exercises in the Student Forum. Upon starting a class cohort, all students and instructors gain access to this forum. Posting your questions here allows other students to benefit from both your question and the instructor’s response.
Unlimited repeats for free
You can redo the course for free, until you reach your target score. This unconditional option is not offered by any other prep course in the market. This is a great option if you have a budget concern.
How much does Prep101 cost?
Prep101 costs around $2,300, which allows you to access a one-course format. You can use promo code DOCMAX to get $100 Off from the listed price. Its pricing range is comparable to that of Kaplan and Princeton Review. However, it charges zero dollars for retaking the course, which is a feature that you may never find in most major MCAT prep.
Prep101 offers two different payment choices. The first one is full payment, which ensures you have a spot for the classes and the shipment of course materials within 5 business days. The other payment option is the $100 deposit, which only ensures you have a spot but does not include the shipment of your course materials until the balance is paid in full.
One great thing about this MCAT course is that it also includes special features like promotions, therefore you should first look for coupon codes before purchasing. Moreover, using Prep101 provides you with unlimited repeats for free, which enables you to redo your course continuously for free in case you fail your exam or are unable to reach your target mark.
- Puts a special focus on CARS.
- Excellent format of live classes
- In-depth coverage of content including prep books and on-demand videos.
- Offers abundant guided practice under the supervision of expert instructors.
- Includes dedicated personal coaching for MCAT preparation.
- Accommodates flexible class scheduling.
- Provides the highest number of full-length practice exams among all MCAT prep courses.
- Intense study routine
- Relatively new name in MCAT industry
Disadvantages of using Prep101
Typically, every good thing will always contain certain disadvantages and Prep101 is not left behind in this sector. Here are some of its cons:
- Intense study routine
Even though Prep101 offers a flexible study schedule, which allows you to attend class either in the morning, afternoon, evening, or night. Thus, it can still be intense for many.
To be more specific, if you want to be on average, you must attend at least three classes per week and then follow Prep101 recommendations, which require you to divide post-class homework, actual class work, and pre-class work over three days. As a result, the middle of each week might get quite hectic.
Even though spreading out all your work is not a necessity, it is still the most effective way of studying but you will have to experience intense weeks.
- Relatively new Name in MCAT industry
Compared to Kaplan or Blueprint, Prep101 is a relatively new name in MCAT prep industry.
If you’re looking for an MCAT preparation course that offers substantial live tutor interaction with instructors and encourages deep investment in your studies, then Prep101 could be an excellent fit for you. Its thorough review approach is particularly beneficial for those who need additional support in certain subjects or need to fill knowledge gaps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Prep101 a good choice for MCAT preparation?
From our research, we can confidently conclude that Prep101 is one of the best and strong choices for MCAT preparations. This is due to their highly-knowledgeable tutors, quality live classes, and in-depth curriculum.
Moreover, when you compare Prep101 with other MCAT prep like Kaplan and Princeton, you will find out that Prep101 offers a well-rounded and intensive study program.
Which are some of the features that make Prep101 MCAT unique?
In case you are wondering whether Prep101 is worth it, then here are some of its features to show that it is the strongest choice:
- Maximum hours for live classes: This course offers over 130 hours of live lessons, which provides enough time for students to work on the most difficult questions.
- Flexible schedule: Classes are usually held numerous times a week so you can choose a class that suits your schedule.
- CARS Workshops: This preparation course also includes CARS workshops that are covered in 30+ hours of live classes.
- Personal MCAT coach: In case there are certain topics that you do not understand or you simply need clarification on some questions, then Prep101 offers different personal coaches for guidance.
- Qualified instructors: Choosing Prep101 allows you to gain information and help from well-trained instructors throughout the length of the course.
- Full-length practice exam: There is nothing more satisfying than doing exams that draw a realistic picture of the actual exam, and this course provides just that. Here, you get to tackle 20 practice exams that resemble the MCAT exam.
- Unlimited repeats for free: You can redo the course for free, as many times as you please until you reach your target score.
What are the recommended new course materials for repeat students?
There is no need to use new course materials if you are a repeat student unless the materials have expired or undergone extensive updates. Though not necessary, it is still recommended to buy AAMC with 5 full-length tests, a section bank, as well as question packs, 6 Prep101 classroom companions, and 10 Altius full-length practice tests.
What is the structure of Prep101?
As I stated above, the format of Prep101 is similar to that of a real college, which allows students to easily keep up with their studying. But for the structure, the course offers 130+ hours of live classes that consist of 44 lessons that cover the general concepts of the MCAT.
It also provides 14 in-class workshops and 32 in-class tests to equip you with the required knowledge and skills for passing your MCAT exam. When there is no class, your coach will help you create a simple study plan that allows you to know what to practice and study during your free time or when test day is closed.
How many practice passages are there in MCAT?
Our prep course includes an ABUNDANCE of practice passages:
• 32 EK In-Class Exams = 124 practice passages
• EK MCAT Verbal Reasoning Workbook = 101 practice passages
• 5 AAMC Exams = 195 practice passages
• 5 EK Tests = 195 practice passages
• 10 Altius Tests = 390 practice passages
• 6 AAMC Question Packages + 1 AAMC Section Bank = 155 practice passages
• 23 Prep101 After-Class Practice Sets = 180 practice passages
= 1,340 practice passages (equivalent of 34 full-length MCATs)
How does coaching at Prep101 work?
For more guidance, each student is given an experienced coach that provides appropriate study practices and motivates them when there are no class hours. Moreover, the coach will design a study plan that fits your needs and schedule, based on your test date, science background, day-to-day activities, target scores, and so much more.
In addition to all these, your coach will also fine-tune the study plan as well as check in with your progress regularly to ensure you are on the right track. An important point to note is that Prep101 is the only MCAT prep that provides this kind of coaching, therefore, making it an ideal choice for polishing those hard-to-understand topics.