Last Updated: April 10, 2021
MCAT Preparation Courses
The MCAT examination is a standardized test taken by students who aspire to study in medical schools. The examination consists of four sections which are interdisciplinary in nature. These sections are Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.
Since every medical school in the U.S. and most Canadian medical schools require an MCAT score for admission, the competition for acquiring better scores in the exam has become imperative. Students often opt to join for prep courses that can help navigate them through their preparation for the exam or at least join courses that help students in their self-preparation.
Benefits of Taking an MCAT Prep Course
Using a prep course to study for the examination helps students improve their scores but at the same time, these courses focus on giving the student an idea of how the exam is conducted officially. Knowing the pattern of the exam and the kind of questions that are repeatedly asked in it provides the student with a sense of cracking the exam that is not only associated with having a certain knowledge about the syllabus and its content.
The courses also offer students with comprehensive study plans by even providing the student with customized study plans that can help them clear the examination with a 90th percentile that can secure them admission in almost every medical school in the country. The tests that are frequently taken during the duration of the course makes the student understand their weaknesses and prepare according to by setting a goal score that can aspire to given their base score.
Best Prep Courses for MCAT
- The Princeton Review MCAT Prep- The Princeton Review offers MCAT prep courses under different titles each of which offers different benefits to the students. A few of these are-
Along with these, they have a Self-Paced option for $1499, a Private Tutoring option for $183/hour, a Comprehensive Admission Counselling Program for $3500, and MCAT Topic Focus for $399.
- MCAT 515+ Immersion- which is an intense preparation course that costs a total of $6699. It contains 860+ hours of instruction, practice, and a 1-on-1 personalized study manager. They offer a 24/7 on-demand tutoring feature in this course which lets the student clear their doubts and prepare according to their schedule rather than the schedule assigned to them. Apart from the content lessons and strategy lessons offered in the course, they have 16 full-length practice tests and the AAMC practice materials are also provided through the course.
- Ultimate- is a course offered for $2599 which is available both online and in-person with 123 hours in a classroom. They offer 16 full-length practice tests and include all AAMC study materials along with a total of 11 MCAT books. It also includes 500+ on-demand videos covering the MCAT study content which has been crafted by experts in the field.
- Winter Bootcamp- is the course offered by them for $2599 with a guarantee of obtaining above 510 in the exam. This offers 4-6 weeks of specialized instruction which is split into 33 hours of Biology/ Biochemistry, 12 hours of Organic Chemistry, 18 hours of General Chemistry, 18 hours of Physics, 21 hours of Psychology/ Sociology, and 21 hours for the CARS section of the exam. They also offer 15 full-length practice tests along with all AAMC content.
- Magoosh MCAT Prep Review- The most affordable option offered for MCAT prep is by Magoosh with a 7-day money-back guarantee if the student does not find the course to their benefit. The options offered are-
The specialty of the course is that they offer a 7-day free trial with 60 MCAT lessons and 16 practice questions with no credit card commitment that lets the student choose the course of their choice by knowing what they are getting themselves into. If the student doesn’t get a 10+ score in the examination after taking the course they guarantee a refund to the student.
- 1-month Premium- which provides 1-month access to 380+ content review videos, 740+ questions, 3 full-length practice tests, and study schedules. They also offer a +10-score guarantee all for $279.
- 12-month Premium- is a plan that costs just $299 providing 12 months of access to 380+ content review videos, 740+ questions with detailed explanations to every practice question, and study schedules.
- Kaplan MCAT Review- Kaplan offers 3 options for students who want to join an online prep course for MCAT. This is all based on the time the student has to prepare for their oncoming examination. The options are-
Apart from these courses they also offer a Tutoring+ Live Online course for $3699, Bootcamp for $6999, Live Online Course for $2499, Live Online Course Plus for $2999, a Gold Practice Bundle for $329, and also a Practice Test 3-Pack for $179.
- On Demand Course Plus- is a course that costs $2299 for 90+ hours of live and recorded lessons and a question bank with 2900+ questions. It also contains 16 full-length practice tests along with a 7-book MCAT subject review set that will be provided to the student. They will get 6-month access in all and 3 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring.
- On Demand Course- is the option that costs $1799 where the student will get 90+ hours of live and recorded lessons along with a question bank with over 2900 questions. This amount will secure the student with a 6-month access to the course content along with 130 interactive science review videos.’
- Platinum Practice Bundle- is a course worth $499 and it contains 6 full-length practice tests along with 2900+ questions along with in-depth answers for all of them. They also provide detailed score reports that provide the student with an insight on where they must improve. This is also an option provided for 6 months in all.
- Blueprint MCAT Review- They provide courses that are customizable by the student and have a high resemblance to the official test. The instructors that provide the necessary training for the students are all 99th Percentile instructors which imply that they know about the MCAT exam on a first-hand basis. The courses offered have the same content with the price differing only for the duration for which the student can have access to the same.
The contents include160 learning modules along with over 10000 total practice questions including 150+ passages along with strategy lessons, quizzes, and assessments. They provide 6 updated content books, a question bank with over 4000 discrete questions and passages, and 15 full-length practice questions. They also provide all the official AAMC online resources including the section bank, question packs, and the official guide questions.
- 6-Month Plan- The student will be able to access the content for a duration of 6 months if they opt for this plan. This will cost $1486 and does not include an automatic renewal of the plan available. But they do offer a score increase guarantee.
- 9-Month Plan- This is offered for a cost of $244 per month and does not have an autorenewal plan. The total cost of the course is $2199. They offer a score increase guarantee for the course.
- 12-Month Plan- is offered for a cost of $2499 where the student can play a sum of $208 per month until the duration of the course is over. They offer a score increase guarantee for the course.
Cracking the MCAT without a Prep Course
While joining for one of the prep courses might seem the best option for students it is not always possible for students to join for the same. This may be due to the expenditure involved considering how just applying for the course can cost the student $320 as the initial registration fee. Courses that are offered by institutions may charge more than even $2000 that can seem a little over the top and unnecessary if the student can prep themselves for this important examination.
Students often opt for the alternative where they can prep themselves with the best study guides available for the test that can considerably reduce their financial burden. One might have to learn about the exam, its pattern, syllabus, the easiest approach to answering the questions, etc., before delving into the contents of the examination. It is to be understood that even though the MCAT score is important for obtaining admission, other factors like GPA, personal statement, etc., are almost equally important for the test and can even out relatively low MCAT scores during the application reviewing process.