Prepping for the MCAT is mentally and emotionally tasking. The vast amount of content to cover means that you may not even know where to get started studying for this intimidating exam.
This is where a good MCAT prep course can come in handy, compiling everything for you and simply giving you a study schedule you need to follow up until test day. That’s it!
Now as convenient as that sounds, you are then faced with a secondary challenge: which is the best MCAT prep course to go for?
Well, the comprehensive comparison laid out in this article is all you will need to help you decide which MCAT prep course is the best fit giving you optimum value for your money.
Which MCAT Prep Course Is Right For You?
- The best MCAT prep course overall, giving you the highest value for your money, is Blueprint MCAT.
- If you are looking for a live online course with very flexible class scheduling to accommodate your busy life, we recommend Prep101 MCAT.
- If you are on a tight budget and are looking for the most affordable MCAT prep course, we recommend Magoosh MCAT.
- If you are a nontraditional student looking for a prep course with very detailed content review, we recommend the Princeton Review MCAT.
Full-Length Practice Exams
On-Demand Video Lessons
MCAT Prep Books
Includes AAMC Resources?
Best MCAT Prep Courses In 2023
1. Blueprint MCAT Review
Among the many Blueprint MCAT highlights include their extremely good video lessons, very representative practice materials, and incredibly helpful advanced analytics.
Blueprint’s cheapest MCAT course is the 6-month Online Course that costs $1,999, whereas their most expensive option is the 40-hour Premium Intensive Review Tutoring Plan valued at $10,499. The good news, there is always a blueprint MCAT coupon code that can help you save up to $1000
First off, Blueprint’s organization of the MCAT content is quite commendable. The syllabus is organized into modules, each covering a subtopic of the MCAT.
Not only that but there are quizzes spread all out across each module. You have an assessment quiz at the beginning of the module, concept check quizzes between videos, a quiz at the end of each module, and end-of-chapter exams.
This incredible approach allows you to consistently test what you’re learning so you can best understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie as far as content grasp goes.
Aside from the numerous module quizzes, the module video lessons are also very engaging, full of illustrations and animations appealing to visual learners and enhancing content retention.
Another stellar aspect of this MCAT prep course is the quality of their mock exams and QBank questions that are all incredibly representative of the actual MCAT with regard to the level of difficulty.
Blueprint’s practice material gives you a very good idea of what MCAT-style questions look like, thereby allowing you to hone the skill of knowing how to think for the MCAT.
As with all the other top MCAT prep courses, a Blueprint MCAT course subscription comes with access to all the AAMC MCAT prep study materials.
The advanced analytics Blueprint uses is another thing that makes this test prep company absolutely worth your time and money.
The analytics don’t just show you what you got wrong and right. Rather, they go deeper in revealing your underlying answering patterns, broken down by subject, question type, and AAMC reasoning skills.
The intuitive visualization of this data helps you spot your weaknesses easily and quickly, even at a glance. You don’t have to start figuring out how to interpret the data presented because it’s all been done for you, and your patterns are highlighted accordingly.
Lastly, Blueprint offers a ton of free MCAT prep course resources, including a highly customizable study plan, flashcards, a daily MCAT question, and live webinars, among other valuable resources bound to be invaluable in your MCAT preparation.
– Offers a highly personalizable MCAT study curriculum.
– Practice resources are highly representative of the actual MCAT.
– The advanced analytics used are extremely helpful.
– The mobile-friendly format allows you to easily study on the go.
– Actually teaches you how to take the MCAT exam.
– Not great at replicating AAMC CARS.
2. MCAT Kaplan Review
Kaplan is a very popular study option for the MCAT, and that’s not surprising, seeing as they offer one of the most comprehensive MCAT prep courses in the market.
Their prep options comprise on-demand, in-person, and live online courses, as well as tutoring packages, thereby catering to a wide variety of learners.
Kaplan’s cheapest MCAT course is the 6-month On-Demand Course that costs $2,099, whereas their most expensive option is the 40-hour Premium MCAT Tutoring valued at $10,199.
All courses come with 7 MCAT prep books, which many students speak of very highly.
The well-written Kaplan books are one of the highlights of this MCAT test prep company. The books are well-written and have excellent content coverage in both breadth and depth of material.
The great thing about Kaplan’s MCAT content is that it is detailed yet concise, giving you the exact knowledge of what you need to know for the MCAT, no more, no less.
Each learning module is summarized in about 3 or so video lectures. Each video lesson is pleasantly short and to the point, so you won’t feel bogged down with overwhelming information.
The best part is that the videos are very interactive and visually engaging, full of pictures, drawings, graphs and other graphics, which is great for enhancing visual learning.
The test prep company gives you plenty of MCAT practice material via lesson review quizzes, mock exams, practice questions, homework assignments, and a QBank.
Additionally, all the Kaplan MCAT prep courses include access to all the official AAMC practice materials, so you get the most realistic MCAT-like practice from the test developers themselves.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that Kaplan’s full-length practice tests are much harder than the actual MCAT. They include too many low-yield topics and involve a lot of recall-type questions, which isn’t exactly what the MCAT tests.
Nonetheless, these practice tests are excellent for content review in how they challenge your content grasp, so if you can get by with a decent score, then you’ll definitely do just fine on the real exam.
The answer rationales provided by Kaplan are pretty solid. The text-based explanations are brief and to the point, perfectly highlighting why your answer was the right or wrong answer choice.
The company also has an MCAT mobile app which perfectly allows you to study on the go. The one shortcoming here is that the mobile app contains only about 1,000 flashcards which we wish was more.
Overall, Kaplan offers a good coverage of MCAT content review, and their well-written books will prove to be worthy companions during your MCAT prep.
– Has excellent breadth and depth of MCAT content.
– Has very well-written MCAT books, particularly handy for the Bio/Biochem and Chem/Phys sections.
– Highly engaging, visually appealing video lessons.
– The customizable QBank is pure gold.
– Very responsive online tutor support.
– Does not do a great job of replicating AAMC CARS.
3. MCAT Princeton Review
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that Princeton Review MCAT is very content-heavy and detailed, almost to the point of being overbearing.
Nevertheless, the upside here is that this prep program is well-rounded and comprehensive, covering virtually everything you need to know going into medical school.
The Princeton Review MCAT prep options comprise on-demand and live online courses, as well as tutoring packages. They currently do not have an in-person prep option.
Princeton Review’s cheapest MCAT course is the Self-Paced Course which costs $1,999, whereas their most expensive option is the 60-hour MCAT Comprehensive Tutoring, valued at $11,000.
Aside from that, you also get 11 physical MCAT books, including 4 exclusive course-based workbooks. The Psych/Soc book, in particular, is very well written, providing great content explanations. Also, the Science and CARS workbooks are absolute gold.
One commendable thing is the knowledgeability of the Princeton Review MCAT instructors.
The lessons are taught by instructors who are specialists in the respective MCAT subjects. This is quite rare, as most prep companies simply have generalist instructors who teach every subject.
That being said, the on-demand Medflix video lessons are rather humdrum and leave much to be desired.
Although the lectures do a good job of getting into every nook and cranny, covering every single MCAT concept, the videos themselves lack engagement and visual appeal. Not to mention the lecturer moves through the material rather quickly.
Without a doubt, the Princeton Review live online MCAT lessons are far better than the on-demand content if you want something stimulating and engaging.
This MCAT prep program allows for a ton of practice through diagnostic exams, full-length practice exams, practice questions, and drills. Not to mention you also get access to all the AAMC practice materials.
One thing to note is that Princeton Review’s full-length exams are quite possibly the hardest 3rd party MCAT mock exams you could possibly find. They involve very complex passages, and you will typically be required to remember very niche concepts that aren’t even likely to be tested on the real exam.
Nevertheless, the best part about Princeton Review’s practice material though is their answer rationales.
The explanations are incredibly thorough, going into great detail to break down the essence of the question and providing a thorough analysis of each answer choice. That was quite impressive.
Another invaluable resource that comes with Princeton Review is the subject-specific live Office Hours accessible across all their MCAT courses, including the self-paced one. There are 6 sessions every week, each about an hour long, and your specific questions are what lead each session.
If nothing else, these office hour Q & A sessions make Princeton Review MCAT absolutely worth its money in gold.
– Very deep, detail-packed curriculum.
– Excellent answer explanations and rationales.
– Access to unlimited office hour sessions.
– Offers superior score guarantees, especially for the higher-priced courses.
– The Psych/Soc book is extremely well done.
– The on-demand videos are rather unengaging and boring.
4. Magoosh MCAT Review
Offering a far cheaper alternative to traditional MCAT prep courses, Magoosh proves that it can stand almost at par with some of the best MCAT prep courses in the test prep industry.
You do not need to break the bank in order to score past the 500 mark.
Magoosh MCAT’s cheapest course is the 1-month plan, which costs $379, whereas their most expensive option is the 12-month plan, which is valued at $399.
Unlike the other big names on this list, Magoosh does not offer many MCAT prep resources, but that’s expected, considering the price. So do not set your expectations too high. With that being said, do not forget to keep an eye on our always up to date MCAT discount page where you can find the best deals.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a fuss-free and affordable MCAT self-prep option, this right here is your best bet.
To begin with, Magoosh MCAT is a purely online course with online resources. There are no hardcopy books that come with your subscription.
The MCAT prep resources provided by this program include video lessons, flashcards, and practice questions, complete with detailed explanations.
Magoosh’s MCAT video lessons are actually pretty decent, both in production quality and in their content coverage. They are taught by a diverse team of experts, including an exclusive CARS expert, to get you through this very tricky section of the MCAT.
The videos are pleasantly in-depth, comprehensively covering high-yield MCAT topics, along with common pitfalls students may fall into and shortcuts you could apply to quickly grasp certain concepts.
As for the practice material, this program has over 700 practice questions which can be made into 3 full-length practice tests should you wish to take a mock exam.
The quality of the questions is decent enough. They are pretty good at imitating AAMC-style questions and also do a great job of helping you identify where you may have content gaps.
It is worth noting that Magoosh’s practice material in itself isn’t enough to get you MCAT-ready. You are better off supplementing these with some AAMC practice materials to ensure you have covered all your bases.
That aside, though, Magoosh additionally offers unlimited tutor assistance via email, and one commendable thing here is that the tutors are pretty responsive and helpful in getting you unstuck.
Another great perk to using this course is that Magoosh offers plenty of free course materials, including study guides and handy explanations for the AAMC practice tests.
– Has an excellent user interface.
– The video lessons are surprisingly detailed and well-explained.
– Offers plenty of free MCAT prep resources.
– Has very well-articulated answer explanations.
– Allows you to create customized quizzes.
– The video lessons could be more visually captivating.
5. Prep101 MCAT Review
The Prep101 MCAT course curriculum is incredibly detailed, containing many materials and resources. So if you are to make optimum use of your subscription, you need to ensure you have the time and are ready to apply yourself fully to the entire program.
Prep101 simply has one course plan, which will cost you $2,295.
First off, Prep101 pairs you with a personal MCAT coach who guides you on how to organize your studying and provides you with motivation as you go along with your MCAT prep.
Besides helping you design an efficient study plan tailored specifically to your needs, the coach will help reinforce good study habits, and this can go a long way in keeping you on track with your MCAT prep.
Offering 138 hours of live instruction, this program offers very flexible class scheduling whereby each live class is offered 4 times weekly.
As such, it is up to you to customize your weekly class schedule accordingly, based on whichever class time best suits your availability.
The best part is that you do not need to sign up for a class in advance. Simply show up and attend whichever one suits your schedule.
Additionally, all live classes are recorded, so you have recordings of all lessons available to you at all times on your student portal.
Regarding practice resources, Prep 101 gives you full-length exams, in-class exams, and after-class practice sets. But the unique thing here is that their full-length tests are taken from Examkrackers and Altius.
As a result of this diversity, while studying using Prep101, you can rest assured that you will not be subject to the testing bias that typically occurs when you just use one resource for your MCAT studies.
Also, Similar to all other MCAT prep courses worth their value, a Prep101 subscription includes access to all the official AAMC practice materials.
The hardcopy books included in Prep101 MCAT include 6 Examkrackers study guides, a CARS workbook, and 6 Prep101 classroom companions, which should be used alongside the live online lessons.
The EK study guides are very well written, comprehensively covering everything you would need to know for the MCAT. Also, their striking visual appeal is definitely an added incentive to study with them.
Lastly, one last perk is that Prep101 features an unlimited repeat policy whereby you can re-apply to take the prep course as many times as you wish at no extra charge.
So the advantage here is that you can start prepping for the MCAT as early as the summer after your first year. No need to put it off till the last minute.
– Very flexible class scheduling.
– Incredibly deep and thorough MCAT content coverage.
– Offers a very personalized MCAT study approach.
– Diverse practice tests help eliminate testing bias.
– Includes plenty of guided practice.
– Does not offer any guarantees.
6. Altius MCAT Review
Altius may be more popular for its practice exams, but that’s not all that the test prep company has to offer. There are full MCAT prep courses as well, and quite a number of options at that.
Altius MCAT’s cheapest course is the Elite MCAT Classroom Course which costs $2,999, whereas their most expensive option is the Ultimate Diamond Admissions Titanium MCAT Course plan valued at $11,999.
Most test prep companies only offer online MCAT prep courses. However, Altius goes the extra mile to offer an extensive in-person full immersion course for students who wish to have an MCAT studying experience that’s completely free of distractions.
Now that’s something you do not see every day.
The Altius MCAT prep course curriculum is very structured, coupled with extensive content review, guaranteeing to eliminate any knowledge gaps you may have.
One unique thing you may notice about this test prep provider is that there aren’t any on-demand video lessons available. Rather, Altius emphasizes a more guided study approach.
Overall, this test prep company places a huge emphasis on tutoring and mentorship. So, in addition to classroom instruction, you also have one-on-one mentoring, group tutoring sessions, in-person proctored exams, etc.
As far as practice goes, Altius gives you full-length exams, a diagnostic exam, subject-based exams and access to all the AAMC study materials.
Altius practice tests are renowned for being excellent practice materials, and their analytics are really great as well. However, these exams are slightly harder than the AAMC, so keep that in mind while reviewing your performance.
In particular, the Bio/Biochem and Chem/Phys sections are really well done, with great content coverage that aligns well with the AAMC.
Once you are done taking an exam and are ready to review it, the powerful analytics Altius uses allows you to analyze your results using diverse metrics.
You can categorize your performance by topic, subtopic, question type, scientific inquiry and reasoning skills, thereby helping you narrow down your weak areas to the very specifics.
Having video explanations is another area where Altius stands head and shoulders above its competitors. There is an exhaustive video explanation for every single practice question and passage you tackle on Altius.
Besides showing you how to approach the questions, these video explanations are incredibly in-depth, keenly dissecting the question and answer choices and giving you handy answering strategies for different question types.
This means that Altius is valuable not just for content review, but the insights provided in the answer explanations help sharpen your MCAT reasoning skills.
– Provides very good practice material.
– Has extremely thorough, thought-provoking answer solutions.
– Excellent hands-on guidance through tutoring and mentorship.
– Actually teaches how to take the MCAT exam.
– The rigid course structure keeps you focused and on track with your MCAT prep.
– There are no on-demand video lessons for content review.
What Are The Top Features To Look For In An MCAT Prep Course?
When do you plan on taking the MCAT, and how much study time do you have between now and your test date?
Different MCAT prep companies have different course durations, so you should choose accordingly to ensure you maximize your study time.
For instance, if you plan on taking the MCAT in a year, it makes sense to sign up for an MCAT course which will give you a one-year access period to the study materials and resources.
On the other hand, if you are taking the MCAT in 3 months, then it really doesn’t make sense to sign up for a 6-month-long MCAT course, now does it?
Alongside this consideration, keep in mind how long it takes to complete the specific course you are looking at. Some courses will take you a month to get through, while others will require about 4 months to get through all the materials and resources.
So choosing accordingly will help you make the most use of the MCAT prep course, thereby giving you the best value for your money.
What kind of test prep MCAT study approach are you looking for; self-study, in-person, tutoring, or live online classes?
Your decision here will be based on the kind of learner you are. Are you disciplined enough to self-study efficiently, keeping yourself motivated throughout, or are you the kind of student that needs a rigidly structured study schedule provided by a classroom setup?
Are you a non-traditional student with work and other life commitments and therefore need a course that will be flexible enough to align with your busy schedule?
How much time can you dedicate to studying every week, and can you find a course schedule that aligns with your availability?
How would you gauge your MCAT content grasp so far? Are you looking for an in-depth content review or just a brief reminder of a few MCAT topics and concepts here and there?
How long ago did you take your prerequisites? Are you a traditional or a non-traditional pre-med student?
What is your learning style? Are you an audio-visual learner that needs engaging interactive video lessons, or are you more of the reading type that prefers textbooks?
Are you okay reading lengthy text blocks on plain pages, or do you prefer reading something more stimulating with color, illustrations, and summaries?
Among the resources included in most MCAT prep courses include video lessons, MCAT books, flashcards and Anki decks, QBanks, mock exams, summary notes and cheat sheets, study guides, customizable study planners, and many others.
As a rule of thumb, the more resources offered by a prep course, the better off you will be, but of course, this is not a hard and fast rule.
The kind of learner that you are will determine which resources matter more to you than others.
For instance, some students may prefer reading MCAT Books, while others would rather read summarized notes. Some students may prefer tackling a QBank, while others would rather self-test using flashcards.
The key thing to remember is that no two learners are alike. Similarly, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to go about your MCAT prep. What works for you may not work for someone else.
What matters is choosing the methods and resources that enhance your learning, effectively giving you visible progress as you inch closer to your testing date.
Getting a good MCAT score isn’t really a matter of how much content knowledge you possess. Rather, the MCAT tests how you apply basic knowledge to solving novel problems given to you in the passage-based questions.
As such, you must be familiar with specific MCAT test-taking skills and strategies.
This is not something you read about in a book. Rather, the only way to hone these skills is to practice as much as possible, using various practice resources. Specifically, you will have that much of an advantage if you use AAMC-style practice materials.
Using the right practice material will help you learn what content is tested on the MCAT with regard to high-yield and low-yield topics and concepts.
Similarly, you will get exposure to how MCAT-style questions are phrased, so you can best understand what a question is asking and what content knowledge you need to possess to answer different question types correctly.
Building stamina is another underrated advantage that comes with doing lots of practice using full-length mock exams under the exact test-taking conditions you are bound to encounter on test day.
At the very least, every online MCAT prep course worth its value should have practice material that’s good enough to enrich your MCAT prep.
Most MCAT courses, even the self-paced MCAT prep options, are usually quite expensive, and signing up for one is often a huge financial sacrifice on the students’ part.
As such, courses that offer a money-back or higher score guarantee help give you the peace of mind that your sacrifice will indeed pay off with a good MCAT score, and even if it doesn’t, you can always get your money back!
Best MCAT Prep Course FAQs
How Much Does An MCAT Prep Course Cost?
The cost of an MCAT prep course will typically range from about $400 to as much as over $10,000.
Currently, the cheapest MCAT prep course in the market is Magoosh MCAT’s 1-month course, priced at $379.
On the other hand, the most expensive MCAT prep course in the market currently is Altius MCAT’s Ultimate Diamond Admissions Titanium plan, priced at $11,999
Should I Self Study Or Take An MCAT Prep Course?
If your content knowledge is solid and you are self-driven and disciplined enough to stick to a study schedule, then you may doi just fine with a self-study option.
Conversely, if it has been a while since you took your prerequisites and aren’t confident in your MCAT content knowledge, then taking an MCAT prep course may suit you much better for intense content review.
Taking a prep course is also advisable if you are the kind of student that struggles to stick to a study regimen and therefore need the rigid structure of a classroom setup to keep you on track with your MCAT prep.
How Long Is An MCAT Course?
Typically, many MCAT prep courses are about 2-months long, meaning that is the amount of time you would need to get through all the study resources and practice material provided.
However, this varies from course to course, so just make sure you first confirm the duration of the MCAT course you are interested in taking before signing up.
Will An MCAT Prep Course Raise My Score?
Yes, an MCAT prep course can help raise your score in a number of ways.
The content review portion of an MCAT course can help deepen your content knowledge, and having MCAT tutors you can turn to when stuck is definitely much better than trying to figure things out on your own while self-studying.
Also, the practice material found in MCAT prep courses is beyond valuable, not to mention that the insights given in answer explanations can equip you with strategies on how to approach MCAT-style questions.
Lastly, there is the idea of community. Whether in classrooms or group discussions, you will get to interact with peers with whom you can exchange information, tips, and tricks and simply motivate each other towards MCAT success.
Studying for the MCAT can be a long and exhausting undertaking, and having a close-knit community of fellow students could go a long way in keeping you challenged and motivated.