If you’re an aspiring medical student who is about to take the MCAT soon, then this is the article on the best prep course for MCAT just for you!
In this post, you will learn the best prep course for MCAT that will help you get a score that would surely get you to your dream med school.
I compiled pieces of advice and suggestions from successful MCAT takers to answer frequently asked questions regarding MCAT preparation. Check out the best prep course for MCAT.
How Difficult Is the MCAT Exam?
In 2019, out of 53,371 applicants, only 21,869 were accepted. That means only 41% of the examinees were able to successfully ace the MCAT. The average score of accepted students is 511.5. Since the MCAT acceptance rate is so low that it didn’t even reach half of the total examinees, it implies that the MCAT exam is difficult.
Can You Do Well On The MCAT Without Studying?
From all responses I gathered, nobody did well on MCAT without studying.
Unless you are a genius and you have an adequate science background in your premed course, perhaps MCAT is a piece of cake. But, this is only the case for an incredibly small population of people.
Students who want to get high scores on MCAT prepared well for a couple of weeks. Remember that the application process for med school is very competitive.
Only a few will be accepted so never take MCAT for granted. It could be your key to getting accepted to your dream medical school.
Check out my article on the best pre-med majors. You’ll be surprised that the majority of the students who got accepted had high MCAT scores.
Take MCAT as if it’s your most difficult exam to face to date. So, prepare for it well. You won’t do well on the MCAT without studying.
How Far In Advance Should You Study For The MCAT?
Since your mind is now set to study for the MCAT, the next question is for how long.
Most students prepare around 3-6 months before taking the test.
Your length of preparation will depend on your test date and other academic or non-academic commitments you currently have.
Once you already know your test date, start creating a schedule immediately so you could strategically prepare as you also accomplish other tasks.
Are MCAT Prep Courses Worth It?
It depends on many factors. Enrolling on MCAT prep courses doesn’t guarantee a high MCAT score. It could help, yes. But it would still depend if you’ll efficiently use them for high-yield reviews.
Some resorted to self-learning and got their target scores. Some took online MCAT prep courses or classes, yet their scores were not enough to get accepted. Lastly, some did both and are luckily in med school right now.
MCAT prep courses can be beneficial or a waste of time and money. It depends on how you make the most out of it.
Before taking any MCAT prep courses, assess first your schedule and availability to know the extent of commitment you could provide. Think of your goals and the actual timeline you intend to follow for your MD journey.
Assess your learning style. If you have the discipline to have a fixed schedule to study on your own, then you may do self-learning instead. Most MCAT takers recommend this strategy. It saves more time and money.
Otherwise, if a physical class works better on you and you got the budget for it, then go for a prep course.
Also, if you feel you’re not doing good enough in practice exams, perhaps you could seek the help of a prep course to boost your score.
10 Best Prep Courses For MCAT
If you’re looking for a quality yet affordable course to prepare you for MCAT, then the Blueprint Online is the best prep course for MCAT. It is rich in information that will help you answer practice questions well.
- High yield reviewer at a very affordable price
- Gives out free supplementary study materials such as practice book and personal tutoring packages
- There are no flashcards to practice for repetition and memory retention.
The Princeton Review is the best prep course for MCAT for students who prefer self-paced learning through live online or in-person tutoring courses.
- With reputable experience for more than 30 years and helped over 10,000 students to pass MCAT for the first time
- Ensures that the review materials are of high quality. At the end of the program, if you didn’t get a higher score after taking the test, you are eligible to avail their money-back guarantee programs
- The 510+ MCAT Score Guarantee gives you access to MCAT Topic Focus with 12 sessions for a more rigorous review experience
- Jump packed with practice tests, online material, videos, and Amplifire learning tool that help to boost your MCAT score
- Offers tutoring packages by experts who will motivate and help you achieve high MCAT score
- No free trial to check the compatibility of the review course with your learning style
- No free flashcards
Affordable and generous prep course that provides several practice questions and free resources, the Gold Standard truly deserves its name.
- The content is updated. There are now 2020 and 2021 MCAT practice questions with new passages, questions, and explanations.
- High-yield to help you get a high score
- Generous to provide free resources including practice questions
- The platform itself is quite outdated or not flashy
What makes Kaplan the best prep course for MCAT is its diverse study packages and access to live lecture classes. Like Princeton, they offer a high score guarantee.
- Kaplan’s MCAT Channel is a unique feature that gives 6-day-a-week access to live lectures from experts. In case you miss a class, a pre-recorded content could be accessed 24/7. You could just simply search the episodes according to your needs.
- Provides a wide range of course options. You have the freedom to strategically execute your study plan as you can choose live online courses, face-to-face classes, self-paced classes, intensive 6-week live sessions, and in-person or online private tutoring.
- Has a Higher Score Guarantee Program wherein it’s either you increase your score or not. If not, they could let you retake the program for free or ask for a refund.
- Kaplan’s course materials do not expire until you take the MCAT.
Though Magoosh has relatively fewer practice questions, you could still consider it as the best prep course for MCAT because of the quality and the systematic presentation of the videos, study plans, and exam simulations.
- It has a huge library that contains high-yield material.
- Videos have high resolutions and are arranged based on subjects.
- Aside from the academic lectures, they also provide lectures on how to study and answer specific sections of the exam. Each lesson has a transcript you could retrieve if you want to skip the video.
- With 3 full-length exam simulations that mimic the actual MCAT.
- Designed with a strikeout and highlight features wherein each question is accompanied by detailed explanations. In case you miss a practice question, you can simply return to its corresponding lesson.
- When you create an account with Magoosh, you are automatically required to create a study plan ranging from 1 to 6 months based on your set test date. This could help you be aware of your schedule and maximize your preparation time.
- In case you have a lingering question to your tutor, they have email support that could respond within 24 hours.
- Few practice questions
If you want a budget-friendly yet best prep course for MCAT, you could rely on AdaptPrep. They could provide your materials based on your schedule and available resources.
- Most affordable of all since pricing is flexible depending only on what you need and could pay. So, you can free yourself of registration costs.
- You can create your own quizzes without any limit – a good strategy for memorization and retention.
- Feedback on how well you’ve been doing could be retrieved through a report generator and discussion forum.
- Products can be bought at a cheaper price in other courses.
- No audio or video lectures. Students can’t check on previous lessons.
If you are a highly independent student who wants full control of your study pace, then you should resort to self-learning instead. And for a student who prefers this learning style, Examkrackers MCAT is the right one for you.
- It offers an at-home study program wherein you could conveniently study the provided material and prepare at your own pace.
- Provides a 10-week self-study syllabus and five practice exams
- Gives you 6-month access to a discussion forum where you can raise questions to be answered by knowledgeable instructors
- Allows you to track your progress and raise questions on areas you find difficult during 12 hotline sessions per week with an expert instructor
- Offers Premium package which includes an interactive workbook, 12 additional sessions with an instructor, and in-depth reviews of each of your practice exams
- You may also choose the Ultimate Examkracker MCAT Self-Study prep course with more sessions with an instructor and additional consultation hours on your med school application personal statement
- Discussion may not be comprehensive enough which would make you search in other sources
Altius MCAT prep course offers quality MCAT review at a very low cost compared to its prep course competitors. It provides online tutoring sessions, live classes, and one-on-one review sessions with a mentor the students can choose from.
- Offers the MCAT score improvement guarantee program. They promise that students who take their short-track or long-track Silver, Gold, or Platinum Mentoring Programs will score in the 90th percentile on the MCAT. Otherwise, the student could retake the program for free until Altius fulfills its goal to help the student get a score that no medical school would reject.
- Provides refund for those who want to take back their subscriptions within 14 days of the initial trial period
- Conducts face-to-face tutoring and mentoring programs accompanied by small classroom sessions to provide an avenue to discuss and enhance areas need improvement
- Every student has his/her own mentor and access to all MCAT practice exams and 32 group-based practice sessions.
- Packages may also include:
- 24 Total Classroom Sessions
- 15 Problem-Based, Interactive Group Sessions
- 2 Mastery Sessions
- 1 Full-Length Exam Review Session with an elite MCAT Mentor
- 15 Hours of Small-Group Tutoring
- Premier Self-Paced Study Package, including 14 Full-Length Practice Exams
- Outdated website makes it hard to navigate
- Video and sound quality may not be great
If you are looking for a free MCAT prep course, then Khan Academy is the course you’ll need! Without spending a penny, you can already review medical-related concepts patterned in AAMC’s direction that might show up in the actual exam.
- Free and accessible anytime and anywhere as long as you have an internet connection
- A wide variety of concepts are available especially the most fundamental ones.
- Study on your own pace
- Offers practice exams at each subject
- Less interactive than live or face-to-face tutoring programs
- Demonstrate only one teaching style
Aptare Prep could give you customized tools for your preferred study plan that would concentrate on your strengths and weaknesses.
- Sends performance reports to show your progress and areas you need to focus more
- Offers the Dynamic Questions feature that provides you questions according to your skill level.
- Has a rank estimator tool to show how ready you are for the actual exam
- Access plans include:
- Complete MCAT Practice
- 4800+ MCAT Practice Questions
- Percentile Rank Calculator
- Section Reports
- Discussion Forum with MCAT Coaches
- Downloadable Custom Study Schedule
- Style doesn’t seem to be at par with AAMC
Is Princeton Review Or Kaplan Better For MCAT?
These are the two most reputable and reliable companies that offer the best prep courses for MCAT. Their awesome features are relatively the same.
Both Kaplan and Princeton have four types of MCAT prep courses. Kaplan costs around $1999 to $3999. Whereas, Princeton could be more expensive as $499 to $9,499 including a workshop.
If you like to focus more on answering practice questions, Kaplan provides 15 full-length practice tests with over 10,000 questions.
On the other hand, if you like attending classes, Princeton might suit you better through its 11 MCAT books and Ultimate Course Package of 123 hours of class lectures.
Both also have High Score guarantees and ensure you would get a higher grade than before or a 510+ to be accepted to your dream school. Otherwise, you’ll get a refund or take the program for free if you take Princeton.
Choosing any of the two will give you win-win results. You may choose based on your budget, needs, and learning style.
What Is The Best Online MCAT Prep Course?
The Princeton Review
Guarantees students a score of 510+, Princeton Review offers one of the best prep courses for MCAT. They want the students.
It has three main prep courses:
MCAT 510 + Course
They will assign a study manager to help you with your preparation. It provides access to diagnostic tests, full-length practice exams, topic focus sessions, and customized homework assignments.
MCAT Ultimate Course
This offers more than 123 hours of classroom time and thousands of practice questions. It provides all AAMC content, 11 MCAT books, and 15 full-length practice tests.
Self Guided MCAT Preparation
This provides a comprehensive training program at your own pace. It gives you access to 10 MCAT books, 500+ lectures of experts, thousands of practice questions, each with detailed explanations.
Kaplan MCAT Prep
Kaplan’s online MCAT prep course could boost your MCAT score as it gives you access to almost 700 hours of video content, full-length practice tests, 8 books, and hundreds of practice questions. You will be constantly guided by MCAT experts.
It covers topics on Compounds, Stoichiometry, Amino Acids, Enzymes, Proteins, Molecular Genetics, Biological Bases of Behavior, Thermochemistry, Electrostatics, Magnetism, Advanced Reasoning on the CARS Section, Metabolic Regulation, Organ Systems, Immunity and many more.
Magoosh MCAT Preparation Course
This promises a 10-point increase to your MCAT score by providing access to more than 380 lessons and almost 750 practice questions. It can be accessed conveniently anytime and anywhere through desktop or mobile.
Important lessons they cover include translational forces, motion, structure, and function of proteins, attitude and behavior change, principles of chemical thermodynamics, and many more.
Next Step MCAT Prep Course
This is a personalized online MCAT prep course that requires you to take a diagnostic test first to give you a customized study plan.
It includes 160 modules of online instruction that could also be accessed via mobile. Students may also join 2-hour live online Office Hours every week.
It is an online platform that showcases various online review courses. It caters to different learning styles depending on your preference. You could comfortably study anywhere through MCAT Prep.com.
Here are the different MCAT test prep courses available on the platform:
MCAT Crash Course
It provides 30+ hours of online MCAT videos discussing important MCAT coverages such as Physics, Biology, General, and Organic Chemistry. It also gives access to 2 full-length new MCAT practice tests with explanations. You may also check your knowledge by answering more than 3000 practice questions with detailed solutions.
This contains all of MCAT Crash Course content plus 3 new full-length practice tests, and 5 MCAT CARS practice exams. More than 3500 practice questions with solutions are provided.
MCAT CARS Booster
It contains 5 full-length online timed MCAT CARS tests with explanations, warm-up exercises, and test-taking strategies.
Home Study MCAT Course
This provides you with some of the most highly rated books, videos, and online practice tests with 12 months’ access. You’ll get to choose one from any of these: Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review: 7 books, Princeton Review MCAT Complete Box Set: 7 books, Examkrackers 11th Edition MCAT Complete Study Package: 6 books, MCAT Practice Questions Book with 1610 questions and answers, and MCAT Prep Erasable Notepad.
Complete MCAT Platinum Package PLUS
Enrolling in this package will give you access to 20 MCAT full-length practice tests, 10,000+ practice questions with helpful explanations, physical books and GS eBooks on various MCAT subjects, and unlimited viewing of the 30-hour science review video library.
Those are the best prep courses for MCAT to help you boost your score and lead you a step closer to your dream medical school!
Always remember that regardless of any MCAT prep courses there are in the market, you should always first and foremost rely on yourself. Uphold disciplined and hardworking attitudes to study well and smart on your upcoming exam.
MCAT is difficult, but it is not impossible to crush.
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