Every parent wants only the best for their children. It isn’t uncommon that they want their children to be successful doctors, lawyers, congressmen, and other careers that come with great power and financial stability. So, it shouldn’t be any surprise that in order to get into any of these careers, you’re going to need extensive schooling.
None is as extensive as becoming a medical professional, especially a physician. Those who dream of helping others in one way or another by becoming a physician is going to have to take an exam called the MCAT before they can even get into medical school.
It is this exam that is going to play a very big role in the decision of medical schools if they want you to come for an interview, so it’s crucial that you rock the exam and get high scores! However, as you’d expect, the exam is incredibly challenging and many (if not all) students require extensive preparation before taking it.
That is why they turn to the best MCAT prep course they can find to help them study and prepare for that ever important exam.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss the things you should consider when looking for the best MCAT prep course. Then we are going to go over out top five choices of MCAT Test prep course providers that we think really fit the bill and are worthy of being called “the best.”
*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table.
What To Look For In The Best MCAT Prep Course
Of all the prep programs available, it’s hard to decide which is going to be the one that is going to be the right one for you. Here are some key things you need to take into consideration before spending your hard earned money on an MCAT course.
MCAT prep companies will have a few different ways you can use their materials and prepare. These methods include in person instruction, live online instruction, self-paced study, and intense prep courses.
Of these, the option you choose will depend on how you learn, your budget, and your location because it may not be feasible for you to attend an in person prep course if there aren’t any near you.
Like with any education program, you want to be taught by someone who is an expert in that subject. Students should look at the staff the program is using to teach the material. Instructors should be well qualified to teach and should be experts in the area they are teaching.
These instructors should be expects with academic experience, but of course practical experience, too. With this kind of experience, the instructor will be better equipped to address concerns from the student about any of the information covered.
The material you’re going to be learning from is crucial when you’re trying to decide which program is going to be best for you.
Some programs will have just online instruction with a small selection of exam questions to practice on, while others will provide you with several hundreds of hours’ worth of videos, review material, and several full length AAMC-like practice exams for you to practice on. Look for programs that have a wide variety of materials for students.
Pass Rate And User Reviews
What better way to determine if a test prep company is worth their salt is if they have a high pass rate or if previous students leave positive reviews about the company. You want to look for program that has been proven to work and you can find that evidence in the reviews and pass rate.
Naturally, you’re going to want to get the most bang for your buck, especially since you could be spending several thousands of dollars on these programs. Some of these features should include:
- plusOne on one lectures/tutoring: this will allow you to ask questions, get clarification, and maximize the usefulness of the preparation you are receiving
- plusGuarantees: a good program will have some type of guarantee in place where you can get a refund of some sort if your test scores do not improve by so many points, a trial period where if you aren’t satisfied you can get your money back, and so forth
- plusApplication assistance: there are some programs that will offer students help with the med school application process. Some programs will walk you through the process step by step, while others will provide tips on how to turn in a great application
With these things in mind, let’s take a look at the five best MCAT Prep courses.
Winner: Kaplan MCAT Prep
Kaplan is one of the leaders in the education/tutoring sector, so it should be no surprise that the Kaplan MCAT Prep program is in this list. Kaplan combines in-class instruction with an online component that gives students everything they may need to pass the MCAT and get one step closer to their dream medical school.
Kaplan believes that students should be able to study smarter, not harder for the exam that is going to pave the way for your future. They provide you with a personalized study plan that will guide you through 400 hours’ worth of online resources and provide you with 125 hours of live instruction. Let’s take a look at the courses Kaplan offers:
- checkMCAT Prep In Person | $2,499 – To participate in this course, you will have to input your zip code to find the class nearest you. With this package, you’ll receive live instruction, 700 total hours of instruction and practice. Top that off with 130 interactive science review videos, 14 full length practice tests and unlimited access to The MCAT Channel
- checkMCAT Prep In Person PLUS | $2,999 – In addition to all of the features of the In Person option, you’ll receive three hours of one on one coaching from your own MCAT coach. You also receive 2 additional self-paced courses that focus on the foundations of biochemistry, psychology, and sociology, totally over 50 hours of instruction
- checkMCAT Prep Live Online | $2,499 – With this option, you receive the same materials as the in person option, except you don’t have to worry about traveling to a classroom. This is perfect for those who doesn’t live near a Kaplan classroom
- checkMCAT Prep Live Online PLUS | $2,999 – This option is the same as the In Person Plus, except you don’t have to travel to the class room
- checkMCAT Prep Self-Paced | $1,999 – This option provides you with all the materials you’ll need to study for the MCAT, but you can do it all at your own pace. You’ll receive customizable online resources, 540 hours of instruction and practice, over 130 interactive science review videos. You also have access to 300 hours’ worth of online resources, 14 full length practice exams and access to Kaplan’s MCAT library
- checkMCAT Prep Self-Paced PLUS | $2,499 – You get the same perks with this as you do with the regular self-paced program. However, you also get 3 hours of one on one coaching and an additional 2 self-paced online courses that focus on the foundations of biochemistry, psychology, and sociology
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Runner Up: Princeton Review MCAT Prep
For over 35 years, students and families have relied on Princeton Review to help them get into medical school. The Princeton Review doesn’t give students just one expert to help them review, but instead they give them six, one for each of the subjects covered on the MCAT.
There are four course options and three private tutoring options students can choose from that best suit your needs and your budget.
- checkSelf-Paced | $1,999 – This course is geared to those who are self-motivators or those who have busy schedules. You gain access to over 500 on-demand video reviews that target specific topics. You also receive practice tools like full length practice tests, drills, diagnostic tests and score reports
- checkMCAT Strategy | $2,299 – This course will provide you with 44 hours of instruction on the six areas covered on the exam, plus the online content from the Self-Paces course
- checkUltimate Classroom | $2,799 – This course provides you with 123 hours of online instruction, but if you live in the Freehold, New Jersey area, you have the option to choose to attend the lectures in person. Again, with this, you get the same content videos, tests, drills, and guidance tools
- checkWinter Bootcamp | $2,799 – This course is an intense, 4 to 6 week program where students will participate in the MCAT Strategy LiveOnline Course. And you also get the same content videos, tests, drills, and guidance tools
- checkComprehensive Tutoring | $160/Hour – Grants you 60 hours of tutoring
- checkTargeted Tutoring | $180/Hour – Grants you 10 hours of tutoring
- checkFlexible Plan | $200 – Grants you 3 hours of tutoring
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Alternatives: Altius MCAT Prep
If you’re going to be spending a lot of money on a prep course, you’re going to want to get the most bang for your buck. Altius is a company that provides their students with superior teaching methods, while focusing on the importance of understanding concepts and master their critical thinking skills.
When you decide that Altius is the program you’d like to enroll in, you will be able to use the same MCAT questions that are used by the AAMC in a proctored session, rather than the random practice exam.
There are six different course options you can choose from. Four of these courses are available year round, while two of them are offered during the summer and they are usually more intense.
- checkBronze | $1,599 – For those who are comfortable with the material and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, this option is great. You have access to 4 Altius Perfect Match MCAT Practice Tests, as well as 105 hours of small group instruction. You can participate in 32 problem based group sessions and 10 study hall sessions as well
- checkSilver | $2,299 – This program will give you the opportunity to participate in 120 hours of small group instruction as well as 32 problem based group sessions and 16 study sessions, as well as 12 sessions of private tutoring. You can also test your knowledge with 10 Altius Perfect Match MCAT Practice Tests
- checkGold | $2,999 – This option is going to provide you with the same features as the silver package, but you’ll have 22 opportunities to study with your tutor and a total of 160 hours for small group instruction. What you don’t get with the silver that you get with the gold are 16 mastery sessions that will help increase your score significantly
- checkPlatinum | $4,299 – This program is designed to give you the most for your money. You’ll receive all the same features as the previous packages, except more of them. You’ll receive 42 sessions with your tutor and 200 hours of small group instruction, but you’ll be able to take part in 16 platinum-only review sessions and receive the silver admissions package for free
- checkGold Summer | $3,199 – This program gives you 22 private sessions with a private tutor and you can participate in 125 hours of small group tutoring. With this package, you’ll also take part in 10 mastery sessions and 10 study hall sessions
- checkPlatinum Summer | $4,499 – This program is going to give you 42 private tutoring sessions and 175 hours of small group tutoring. You’ll also be able to take part in 20 of both the mastery and study hall sessions. You’ll also receive the Silver Admissions package for free, which is an impressive $300 savings
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Gold Standard MCAT Prep
When you’re preparing to take your MCAT, you may not have time to attend classes and online video classrooms. That doesn’t mean you are out of luck. It just means that you need a different solution that is still going to help you prepare to crush the exam.
That’s where the Gold Standard MCAT Prep comes into play. Instead of paying a large lump sum for tutoring, materials, and videos, you can pay a monthly fee and study at your own pace.
The Gold Standard material offers several different options that students can choose from based on their needs. It’s recommended that you take their free, abbreviated MCAT practice test to see what the exam is like and if you may need more structured tutoring. Let’s take a look at what Gold Standard offers:
- checkFree MCAT Practice Test | Free – This option will give you an idea of what you can expect on the exam. You’ll receive instant access to the abbreviated exam, but also free explanation and instant MCAT scores for the new MCAT
- checkMCAT Practice Tests | $20/month – This option gives you access to 7 full length MCAT practice tests that are very similar to the current AAMC format. You can customize this option further by choosing how many tests you can take within a certain time period for an additional fee
- checkMCAT Crash Course | $49.95/month – With this option, you’ll be able to access high yield online chapters from the GS MCAT, as well as review questions that are accompanied by useful explanations for those problems. These ebooks will cover topics in psychology, sociology, MCAT math, physics, general and organic chemistry, biochemistry, and biology. You can also watch doctors go over the material in more than 30 hours of online content, as well as practice with over 3,000 MCAT practice questions and solutions
- checkMCAT University | $79.95/month – This gives you access to all the content included with the Crash Course, but you’ll also receive access to 2 additional full length MCAT practice tests, 5 MCAT CARS practice tests, which are different questions than you’d find on the full length exams. You’ll also be able to test your knowledge with over 3,500 practice questions with explanations for each
If you don’t need all the practice materials included in the above packages, you can fine tune what you need by choosing one of three product packages:
- checkMCAT CARS| $160 – If you want to focus on the CARS section, you can purchase this package and get 5 full length online timed MCAT CARS exams with explanations, warm up exercises and strategies for test taking, and access to these materials for 3 months
- checkComplete MCAT Study Course | $599 – This is a program that supplies you with tangible materials such as the new AAMC official guide, MCAT Reasoning Skills, MCAT Bio book, flashcards, and MP3 audio files. You’ll also receive 6 month access to these online materials
- checkComplete MCAT Course: Platinum Package | $1,600 – This package gives you everything you may need to ace your MCAT and it includes everything from the Home Study course. It also includes 3 official AAMC full length MCAT practice tests, New Gold Standard tests, more than 7,000 practice questions with explained solutions, access to all of these materials for 1 full year, and MCAT score guarantee for an addition 6 months with no extra fee
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Next Step MCAT Prep
The Next Step MCAT Test Prep program is designed for students who were dissatisfied with their first MCAT score and they want to improve their score quite a bit. The students who decides they want to sign up for Next Step tutoring, you will be required to take a diagnostic test that will determine what areas are your strongest, and where you need some help.
What’s special about Next Step is that once you take the diagnostic exam and you know where you need help, you will receive a customized tutoring program where you will work one on one with a tutor. That tutor will be available to help you for the allotted time in accordance to the package you choose:
- checkCrash Course | $1,999 – This plan provides you with a 1 month custom study plan and 16 hours of tutoring with your one-on-one tutor. You’ll have access to 4 full length practice exams, all the AAMC practice exams, the AAMC Official Guide Online Access and 4 “Strategy and Practice” Books
- checkComprehensive Plan | $2,899 – This plan gives you a custom study plan for 2 to 3 months, as well as 24 hours of tutoring with your tutor. You’ll also receive the access to the same materials as the Crash Course option, but you’ll also receive 4 “Content Review” books, 108 CARS Passages Verbal Review Book, MCAT Q-Book with 2,000 Discrete MCAT Questions, and Next Step’s Full Length Exams
- checkIntensive Review | $4,699 – This plan will give you 40 hours of tutoring time and a study plan that will cover 3 to 6 months of studying, as well as all the other materials from the previous plan. This is a great option for those who feel like they need a lot of help to bring their MCAT score up
LEARN MORERead Our Review
Preparing to ace the MCAT is something that every med school hopeful is going to have to take seriously and it starts with choosing a prep program. As you can see, there are numerous programs available that you could choose from—we’ve just selected five of the best MCAT prep courses we’ve come across.
Any one of these courses will help you reach your goals of becoming a medical student.
We particularly like the Kaplan and Princeton Review MCAT Prep materials, though. Both of these programs provides you with a customized study plan that will help you focus on the areas that you need help with, but also give you access to a good variety of MCAT practice tests.
The choice of which of these courses will be the best MCAT test prep course is ultimately yours, but you won’t go wrong with any of these great options.