Kaplan vs Princeton Review Books- Which is The Ultimate MCAT Prep Package?

Kaplan and Princeton Subject Review Books are among the most popular options for studying for the MCAT, but which one is better?

We ranked Kaplan much higher than Princeton in our MCAT book comparison guide, but because of Princeton review’s popularity, we decided that it’s important to explain why we believe Kaplan is the better choice. However, every test-taker is different, and what study guide will work for one student may not work for another. We’ve included the advantages and disadvantages of both, so you can see for yourself whether you should study with the Kaplan or the Princeton Review.

What is the MCAT?

The MCAT, otherwise known as the Medical College Admission Test, is a US and Canadian exam taken by students to get into the medical school of their choice. It’s a challenging exam, and test-takers need to be as prepared as possible to ensure they have a chance of passing.

There are many different test prep companies out there offering different MCAT prep books, all claiming to get you through your exam and into med school. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know what is misinformation and what isn’t. Kaplan and Princeton are both respected brands, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Disadvantages of the Princeton Review

Despite the high reviews the Princeton Review MCAT prep guide has received, there are a lot of faults. The biggest disadvantage of Princeton books is that they include a lot of information that will not come up on the test.

The last thing you’ll want to do is spend your precious time learning things you won’t need to know for the exam. This could hinder your chance of passing.

The Princeton Review MCAT books feature practice questions at the end of each section. But even with this advantage, Kaplan offers many more practice problems for you to solve. So even if you opt for the Princeton prep books, you might have to buy an additional book to get extra practice passages for the exam. With the price of these books, studying can become quite costly.

Advantages of the Princeton Review

The Princeton MCAT Subject Review isn’t all bad – it also offers a few advantages. Despite not having as much practice material as Kaplan, Princeton still features three full-length practice exams for you to sink your teeth into, which is more than what other study guides may offer.

The books also feature strategic techniques you can implement when taking the exam, as well as diagrams and illustrations for visual learning. This is still a test prep company that knows what they’re talking about, unlike many others on the market.

Disadvantages of Kaplan MCAT

These Kaplan books feature about 300 pages more than the Princeton review, meaning they cover a lot more information. Although this may seem like a lot to learn, the prep materials included are all needed for the exam.

Their psychology section is lacking in places, which means you may have to purchase a different psychology and sociology book to ensure that you’re 100 percent ready for the exam.

Advantages of Kaplan MCAT

Although Kaplan does cover more information than the Princeton Review, all of the information they cover has a chance of being on the exam. If you’re not sure where to start, Kaplan can help with that too. Kaplan stars the material most likely to surface on the exam. This means you know what you need to focus on.

The visuals in the books do a great job of explaining complicated concepts. This is a great addition if you’re a visual learner. The amount and structure of the practice questions guarantee that you’ll be ready for the MCAT.

Additional features include concept summaries, so you can get to the heart of what you need to know, comprehensive answer explanations, and 24 full-color MCAT quick sheets.

You also get easy access to Kaplan’s premium online prep.

If you’re buying study guides for all review sections of the exam, Kaplan is also one of the best value packages you can get. Kaplan MCAT offers all the information you need. Other books might seem cheaper, but once you buy everything you need, you will probably end up paying more than you would for Kaplan’s complete package.

Similarity of Prep Packages​

The study packages mentioned above also have similarities that help them outrank other study guides.

They both contain 7 books and come with 3 full length practice tests to check that you understand the material. Practice tests are an important part of any study process, as they help you identify your strengths and weaknesses so you know what area you need to focus on next. We recommend starting your studying off with a practice test – then, you’ll know exactly which area to tackle.

They also both offer practice questions at the end of each chapter, but as you can see above, Kaplan includes more of these in each book.

Princeton and Kaplan Alternatives

As mentioned above, there are many other prep guides out there, and each one will have different advantages for every student. If you prefer classroom instruction or know that you would benefit from video instruction more than a textbook, look for MCAT prep courses that feature video lessons. There are many book and course options out there.

You’ll need to know whether the books were actually written by subject matter experts and include content that will feature on the exam. Check out our other comparison guides to ensure you’re getting the best study materials to help you pass.


As mentioned above, we much prefer the Kaplan MCAT Review over the Princeton Review MCAT. This 7 book set will ensure you have all the information you need to combat test day. The test prep in this content review is all up-to-date and relevant to the newest version of the exam. The self-paced nature of this prep course means you can study on your own terms. Make use of the practice materials, find all the information you need, and get a clear plan of how to study.

With the Kaplan Subject Review, you’re bound to pass your exam with flying colors.

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