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The MCAT is a critical thinking test, not just a content test. So, we treat it that way. The first half of our course reteaches the content needed for the exam; the second half focuses on attacking the MCAT analytically. Even during the content phase, however, we stress how the MCAT views and tests concepts, not just the facts. We show you how to understand the concepts rather than memorizing a bunch of jumbled facts.
Without question, the reason for our success has been our head instructor's (John's) incredible teaching (and that of his instructors). There is a lot more to teaching than expertise in the subject matter. The teacher has to understand how you learn and has be able to make sense to YOU. No one we have ever encountered has been able to do this as well as John. He knows how to make things relatable and how to do it in an entertaining way.
That's why each cycle is unique. As John says, "It has to be different each time because the people are different each time. Otherwise, I wouldn't be doing my job." Couple this with a true understanding of how the MCAT works, and you have an unbeatable combination.
Our core curriculum follows from John's method. All of our instructors fully understand his approach and his focus on "thinking over content." Each instructor has demonstrated master of the content, the test, and the method. Please see our TESTIMONIALS & STAFF section.
We are so confident of this that we welcome you to come and sit in on a class session for free! NOTE: This policy has changed slightly for 2 reasons:
Another quality that makes our class unique is the environment. As hard as it may seem to believe, our students have fun. As Angela Kim puts it,
1) Each cycle takes roughly a minimum of 10 weeks to complete although from time to time we have compact cycles. Some cycles (e.g., summer) are shorter ~8-9 weeks, and some are longer (e.g., fall ~20 weeks).
2) Each Intensive has 156+ hrs of teaching time. Each SWARTWOOD Only cycle usually has 135 hrs of live teaching time (often more). Each Master Course has 105+ hrs. Each Complete Course typically includes 90+ hours of class time. This indicates REAL class time spent teaching, not time spent on diagnostics.
3) All materials are provided for you.
4) All released computerized AAMC (the people that make the MCAT) tests are provided.
5) Although everyone is different, you can expect to spend about 1.5 hours outside of class for every hour in class (just like university classes). But, if you would like a more personalized answer, just ask John yourself.
TYPES OF CLASSES
We have 5 full courses.
1) The Complete Course: This course covers all sections of the MCAT.
2) The Master Course: This course does everything and includes our "Verbal Intensive" course.
3) The SWARTWOOD Only: By far, our most popular course (e.g., this past summer season, out of about ~264 students, ~259 of them were SWARTWOOD Only), the SWARTWOOD Only is the Master Course except that John teaches EVERYTHING!
4) THE SWARTWOOD EXTREME: Encouraged by the sucess of our SW Only intenisve course and by student requests to have even more time with John, we have created a special version of the SW Only! We've also capped the class since many SW Only cycles fill the entire room (84 people). The SW Extreme is tailored to accomodate only 20 people (more classtime, smaller classesmore, more intense time commitments). But, since there are so many students who are interested and seating is limited, students are asked to "apply" to the course. Admission is not guaranteed soley by payment. Please email Stephanie Mizuhara at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
5) THE SWARTWOOD INTENSIVE: This course is a compromise between the SW Only and the SW EXTREME. This course includes the standard SW Only course and also utilizes some of the new curriculum of the SW EXTREME. SW Intensive students sit with SW Only students but also attend SW Intensive Only classes (limited to 30 students). The SW Intensive is a non-repeatable course (although students in the SW Intensive may take the SW Only as many times as they wish at NO additional charge). Students do NOT need to apply for the SW Intensive. Seating is first come, first serve. The main difference from the SW Only are its extra teaching hours (including additional office hours), new curriculum, and smaller group sessions on Intensive days. The SW Intensive is not offered every cycle due to the time investment.
PLEASE NOTE: Since virtually 100% of our students for the past 2+ years have been enrolling as SW Only (along with some SW Intensive/EXTREME), the Complete/Master cycles do not run often. Please email if you have questions.
NOTE that since our course changed in 2015, there will be a fee for any students switching from the "old" course to the "new" course due to the extra teaching hours, new materials, and host of new diagnostics.
MCAT 2015 UPDATE!!!: