People planning to take the Medical College Admission Test — more popularly known as MCAT — already know that it is one of the toughest standardized exams to take, possibly even harder than the LSAT! You have to put in a good amount of time to prepare for this examination, which is a competency test for medical schools in the country. The exam lasts for a longer period of time than most others — at 7.5 hours — and is based on multiple-choice choice questions.
While many students attend in-person coaching and similar classes, others rely on online resources to get their hands on the best materials that will walk them through the MCAT exam. There are many different MCAT prep courses available for you to choose from at any given time. A cursory search on the internet may end up confusing you further if you are wondering how to go about your MCAT prep. Different courses use different methods of teaching, different material and tools as well as different pricing systems, which isn’t always easy to traverse.
In order to make the entire process easier for you when it comes to deciding on one or more courses, here is a compiled list of the best MCAT review courses for when you find yourself in a fix.
The Princeton Review MCAT Prep Course
If you are running short on time and want to get your hands on an MCAT review course that covers all major aspects of the examination, you must consider the Princeton Review MCAT Prep Course. The quantity and quality of material provided are truly impressive, with a large number of practice questions and tests, online study material, videos for learning as well as a proprietary learning software. The platform runs an exam score guarantee where you either get a higher exam score or get your money back. This can be a gamechanger as increasing your score from 500 to 510+ can almost triple your chances of getting into medical school!
If you opt for the Ultimate Bootcamp, it comes with 123 hours of live instruction and an in-depth review of all sections of the course. Otherwise, you can opt for the Strategy Bootcamp, which is cheaper and more focused on certain aspects.
Gold Standard MCAT-prep
Another popular MCAT review course to consider is the Gold Standard MCAT prep. While this platform isn’t as impressive as the Princeton Review one in terms of graphics and content layout, it helps in keeping the student’s attention to the things that matter — the material provided. The content on the platform is routinely updated to give you the most relevant information, explanations and questions. The number of practice questions made available to you surpasses most other MCAT review courses on this list.
The Gold Standard courses work well for people on a budget as they are also available in the form of monthly subscriptions. Even if you opt for the complete course, it will cost you lesser than the Princeton Review strategy course. Finally, the platform also offers a ton of free resources that can be accessed even without taking a subscription.
Next Step Test Prep
While there are many different platforms offering resources to study for MCAT, not all of these give you the kind of one-on-one guidance that you may be seeking. For students who prefer being walked through some difficult problems and may need some personal guidance as they study, Next Step Test Prep has some fantastic features to offer.
The platform has 10 full-length tests for you to get in some practice, as well as a number of tutorials in the form of videos that are engaging and easy to understand. The platform customizes study schedules for the students that are enrolled in the programs and also sets up group sessions where students can get in touch with instructors to clear their doubts. If you have small questions or need some help with your homework, you can get support from experts at any time of the day and night.
Kaplan MCAT Prep Courses
Not all students have enough time on their hands to go in for one-on-one test preparation. While there are self-paced courses also available, there are times when you need that extra push and this is where live online courses come to the rescue. The Kaplan MCAT prep course is a good example of these live courses where the student gains access to an impressive amount of live instruction — more than 700 hours — and practice sessions that are hosted by the instructors themselves. This gives you a handy platform to start your preparation where instructors are also easily accessible.
Kaplan offers a range of courses but the self-paced and live online ones are the most popular. Once you complete the purchase, you also get a range of other resources at your disposal, for example, multiple Kaplan MCAT prep books, a large question bank, videos and practice exams.
Magoosh MCAT Prep Course
If you find yourself on a tight budget that is keeping you from investing in some of the more expensive MCAT review courses discussed earlier, the Magoosh MCAT Prep Course may be just the thing that you need. The company has been known to provide excellent prep courses for many different tests and the MCAT resources are no different. In addition to a large number of practice questions with explanations for the answers, you also gain access to a large number of video tutorials hosted by experts in the field.
The verbal section of the MCAT — officially known as the Critical Analysis and Reasoning — is often ignored by many platforms but Magoosh lays additional stress on this with a range of passages, practice exams and more. This is a self-paced course platform and does not offer live instruction. You can, however, email your queries to the instructors.
AptarePrep MCAT is another affordable option for students who aren’t looking to spend too much money, especially as you can cut down on costs by restricting the time period for which you have access to the resources. You can also opt for access to only some sections and not the entire study material. This platform gives you customized quizzes to practice and understand where you stand in terms of preparation. There is a discussion forum on the platform, which — in combination with the report generator — helps you understand where you can improve.
The platform, however, isn’t without its flaws. There are no video lectures — or even audio — to aid your learning process. The pricing can also be quite confusing if you don’t understand what is included when you start.
If you already have good control over your preparatory efforts, you may be more inclined towards a self-paced study program, for example, the ones offered by Examkrackers MCAT. This platform offers a range of packages to choose from. For example, if you take the basic “Fundamental” self-study package, you get access to all the prep material offered by the company, self-study syllabus spread across ten weeks, practice exams and access to a special forum that can be used to solve your problems.
As you go up to the “Premium” and “Ultimate” packages, interactive workbooks, reviews of your exams and additional sessions with dedicated instructors are also added to the list of features.
The last MCAT review course to be discussed is Altius MCAT, which sets itself apart from many other prep companies by offering a guarantee that students who enroll themselves in the platform’s mentoring platforms will get a score in the 90th percentile. In case this does not happen, the platform gives free tutoring to the student until they reach the 90th percentile. Another interesting feature of this program is the 14-day money-back guarantee that is offered in case you feel it isn’t working out for you. One-on-one instruction and sessions with a limited number of students are the strategies adopted by Altius to produce results.
Maybe you're an EMT looking to further your medical career, or maybe becoming a doctor has always been your dream, either way getting your hands on the right MCAT prep course can change your journey leading up to the exam almost drastically. Instead of putting in hundreds of hours of study like a rudderless boat, you will be able to focus your studying in the right direction by gaining access to the best possible study material and tools. Choosing an MCAT review course will be entirely dependent on your own requirements. Some people want study material that walks them through the entire course, while others prefer just modules with tests and learning aids. Pick one that sits well with your needs and you will be sure to pass the MCAT!