All college admission tests are difficult, but MCAT is inarguably the hardest of them all. Getting a score high enough to get into your dream med school requires mastering both the subject areas and test-taking strategies. And this generally takes months of study and practice. However, all this may not be enough to secure a high score on MCAT if you are working with the wrong or poor quality prep materials.
Knowing that students often struggle to identify the quality of MCAT prep materials, we have done the work for you.
Top 5 Best MCAT Prep Courses for Aspiring Doctors
To help you tick off one thing from your long to-do list, we have researched and selected the five best MCAT prep courses available out there. Here, we are briefly reviewing them for you, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.
Need additional prep resources? Read our article The Best MCAT Prep Books to get help with that!
1. Blueprint MCAT
Blueprint may not be as big of a name as Kaplan and Princeton Review in the test prep industry. But, the MCAT prep course Blueprint offers is of the same level (if not better) as the ones offered by Kaplan and the PR.
Blueprint MCAT is a personalized prep course that offers a customized study plan for every student based on their diagnostic test results. The course is further customized with the help of a small questionnaire that asks students their test dates and how much time they can give to study for MCAT.
The recommended course may range anywhere from 6 months to 18 months. Regardless of the duration, students receive access to more than 4,000 practice questions and about 15 full-length practice tests. The students are also provided two-hour-long live instruction sessions, five times a week, to make sure they can discuss difficult concepts with an expert tutor (more than 240 hours of live sessions over a six-month period). The course is divided into various modules to make this a little easier and organized, each containing a certain number of lessons, readings, and quizzes.
In addition to all these prep materials, the Blueprint MCAT prep course also gives students access to all online resources of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and that too for 15 months. Isn’t it great?
The only factor that can potentially be a downside for many students is a high price of this prep course. It can cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. If you can afford to pay this much amount, you should consider it as one of your topmost options because it certainly is a top tier MCAT prep course.
2. The Princeton Review MCAT Prep Course
Knowing that most students preparing for MCAT primarily struggle with two things – lack of time and the amount of information they have to memorize – the Princeton Review has designed prep courses that deliver maximum results in minimum time. The Princeton Review offers four different plans for students of varying needs. All the plans come with a high score guarantee. When we say the high score, we are talking about a score of 510+.
Here are the four modes of MCAT prep course offered by the Princeton Review:
I. Summer Immersion
This is an intense and fast-paced 6-weeks prep course with a 515+ score guarantee. The course is available both online and in-person.
II. MCAT 510+
This is the Princeton Review’s most popular course plan for MCAT preparation. The course is comes with a guarantee of 510+ test score (as evident from the course title). This comprehensive MCAT prep course includes 123 hours of live instruction, thousands of practice questions, 16 full-length practice tests, 11 MCAT books, more than 500 MediFix videos, and all official MCAT prep material (including online flashcards) issued by the AAMC. The course also provides students with a dedicated study manager where students receive one-on-one advice and guidance from expert MCAT tutors. This helps students figure out and overcome their weaknesses and streamline their efforts.
MCAT 510+ is also available both online and in-person.
III. The Ultimate MCAT Prep Course
The ultimate prep course is similar to the MCAT 510+. The only main difference between the two courses is that while the ultimate course also guarantees a high score, it doesn’t give you a number like the 510+.
Catering to a wide range of students, this course is also offered both online and in-person.
IV. MCAT Self- Paced
If you are one of those strong-willed people who do not need anyone to keep them motivated or someone who just prefers to study at their own pace, then this MCAT prep course could be the right option for you. Unlike the other three courses, this MCAT prep course is only available online. With the purchase of this course, you will get access to 10 MCAT books, more than 500 explanatory videos specifically created by subject experts for MCAT, AAMC practice materials, thousands of practice questions, and 16 full-length practice exams.
All these prep courses by the Princeton Review also include the new shortened-version of practice tests for students appearing in the MCAT exam in 2020.
|In case you didn’t already know, the Association of American Medical Colleges has announced that the 2020 MCAT exam will be shorter – 5 hours and 45 minutes.|
3. The Gold Standard MCAT Prep
The Gold Standard MCAT is a program offered by MCAT-Prep.com and is considered one of the best material resources and prep programs for premed students. The program offers a variety of products and packages across various price points to cater to students with varying needs and budgets. Here’s what the Gold Standard MCAT allows you to choose from:
I. MCAT Home Study Package
This MCAT prep course includes both online and tangible resources.
The tangible prep materials that students receive with the purchase of this course include:
- One MCAT practice questions book containing over 1,600 practice questions and 5 full-length tests.
- A notepad, similar to the one you will be provided in the actual exam.
- AAMC’s official MCAT guide and MCAT flashcards (for an additional price)
- MCAT Prep Books Set – You can choose the latest edition of any of the following book sets:
- Princeton Review MCAT Complete Book Set – Includes 7 books
- Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review set
- Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package
The online materials that you get with the Gold Standard’s Study Home Package include:
- All the materials of the MCAT CARS program, including 5 practice tests for the section.
- 3 full-length practice tests from either Kaplan or Princeton Review.
- 5,000 to 9,000 practice questions along with their detailed solutions.
- The Gold Standard’s subject-specific eBooks.
- Unlimited access to 30-hours science review videos.
- Science summary audio files (4 hours).
- All online AAMC materials (at an additional price)
II. Online MCAT Prep Courses
The Gold Standard offers two online prep courses for MCAT:
· MCAT Crash Course
This MCAT prep course includes selected chapters from the Gold Standard’s MCAT books for all subjects (so you don’t have to waste time in reading whole books to pick out relevant information). In addition to this, students also receive access to:
- The Gold Standard’s MCAT CARS program
- Over 3,000 practice questions (and their solutions)
- 30+ hours of videos for General and Organic Chemistry, Biology, and Physics
- 2 full-length practice tests and 1 new shortened-version practice test
- Discussion board where students can discuss concepts and get advice from experienced MCAT tutors, medical doctors, and medical students.
· MCAT University
With this course, you can get access to the following preparatory materials at just $49.95:
- All the materials that are included in the MCAT Crash Course
- 3 additional full-length practice tests
- 5 additional MCAT CARS practice tests
- More than 3,500 practice questions (with solutions)
Both these online courses are offered as monthly subscription programs, giving you the liberty to change or cancel your plan anytime.
III. MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning
For students who need additional resources or practice material for the CARS section, the Gold Standard offers a specialized program (this program is included in both complete online courses). This CARS prep online prep course provides 3-months unlimited access to the following resources:
- Test-taking strategies and warm-up exercises
- 5 MCAT-CARS practice tests with detailed explanations
IV. MCAT Practice Tests
As evident from the name, this course is comprised of practice tests only- ideal for those who have mastered the subjects theoretically but need more practice. With this online MCAT program, you’ll get access to unlimited practice questions, from different sources, and 20 full-length MCAT practice exams.
V. Platinum Package Plus
If you are just starting with MCAT preparation and want to buy a comprehensive resource guide, at once, this platinum package by the Gold Standard is one of the best available options. The course is includes the materials and resources of all Gold Standard’s MCAT prep courses.
4. Kaplan MCAT Prep Courses
Another leading name in the test prep industry, Kaplan also offers a variety of MCAT prep courses, both online and in-person.
· Kaplan MCAT Prep Online Course
This online MCAT prep course includes:
- More than 90 hours of video lessons, including both live and recorded
- 12 three-hour-long live video lessons with an expert MCAT tutor
- 130 videos of interactive science reviews
- 7-book MCAT Subject Review set along with a lesson book
- All official practice materials published by AAMC
- Personalized assignments based on each students strengths and weaknesses
- Access to Kaplan’s practice questions library, called Qbank, which includes more than 2,900 questions. The best part about Qbank is that it tracks your performance and automatically adjusts the questions according to your level, as you proceed.
· MCAT Prep In-Person Course
Kaplan’s in-person MCAT prep course includes all the materials that you get in the online course, but you study in person with a teacher. The price of this prep course is also the same as an online course. This means you get the opportunity to work directly with a teacher without any additional cost.
· DIY Course
As the name suggests, this is a self-paced prep course. With the purchase of DIY course, you get 5 months’ access to all the materials that are part of the online course except live video sessions with a teacher. If you think you don’t need anyone’s guidance and can prepare on your own, this Kaplan’s course is a good option.
· Tutoring + DIY Course
With this course, students receive all the course materials along with 10 to 40 hours (depending on your package) of one-on-one tutoring with an MCAT expert. You also get the choice to receive these lessons, either in-person or online.
· Live Online MCAT Prep Course
For students who need regular expert guidance, but are unable to enroll in an in-person course for any reason, Kaplan offers a live online MCAT prep course. It includes several hundred hours of live teaching and practice sessions, a significant amount of material from all of Kaplan’s MCAT prep books, several interactive review videos, more than 10,000 practice questions, and 15 full-length practice tests. d
Ideally, you should start preparing for MCAT or any other entrance exam per se months in advance. However, if you were unable to do, for whatever reason, this doesn’t mean you should give up hope. Even if you have only 5 to 6 weeks left in your MCAT exam, you still have the chance to get into a medical school with Kaplan’s Bootcamp.
This fast-paced, intensive MCAT prep course can be taken either online or in-person. In addition to all the Kaplan’s regular resource materials, you will receive private tutoring with an MCAT expert. When signing up for this course, be ready for rigorous training and spending several hours in studying and practicing every day. This prep course includes more than 700 hours of teaching, practice, and support.
There are no two views about the quality of Kaplan’s materials and the effectiveness of their prep courses. However, the biggest downside of their MCAT courses is their high prices, which makes them unaffordable for a large number of students.
5. Magoosh MCAT Prep Course
Magoosh is known for providing targeted test prep courses at affordable prices. For MCAT, Magoosh offers the same high quality on-demand online prep courses at $179 per month or $199 for a year.
Could it get any better? Yes!
The course includes about 400 explanatory videos of subject experts discoing and emplaning important topics. It also gives you access to hundreds of practice questions along with detailed answer explanations. One of the best features of this Magoosh prep course is that it places a lot more emphasis on the CARS section of the MCAT exam than most other available courses. The Critical Analysis and Reasoning Section is often overlooked by most MCAT prep course providers – it doesn’t get the same importance as other sections of the exam. But, this doesn’t mean that this section of the MCAT exam isn’t important.
Another great feature of this course is that you can try it out for free for seven days. What else do you want?
The only downside of the Magoosh MCAT prep course is that you only get limited support. The company only offers expert help and guidance through e-mail, which isn’t a highly efficient process. However, if you are one of those students who do not need regular expert guidance and can do with a self-paced prep course, you couldn’t find a more viable option than Magoosh’s MCAT prep course.
That Sums Up
There is a huge variety of MCAT prep courses available out there. But, as we all know, they are not all the same. Therefore, we have selected the top five options for you. No matter which one of these you decide to opt for, rest assured that you are putting your time and money in the right place. All these prep courses will help you achieve a good score on the MCAT exam, and hopefully, will get you in your dream medical school.