If you’re currently in Canada or the United States and have made-up your mind to secure a place in medical school, then you should know by now that the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is mandatory.
Most medical schools will use your MCAT score to evaluate your admission. And that’s why you have to prepare for the test adequately.
One such way is using test prep materials offered by renowned companies such as Kaplan, The Princeton Review, Blueprint Prep, among others.
Having examined the other two in our previous articles, today, I’m am reviewing Blueprint Prep, formerly known as NextStep.
Next Step MCAT (now Blueprint) Overview
NextStep (founded in 2010) merged with Blueprint (founded in 2005) in 2018, and as a result of that merger, Blueprint became the parent company, hence the current name.
Their primary focus remains to offer MCAT students with unrivaled expertise in test prep. As such, the company continues to provide the same;
- MCAT content previously used by NextStep
- The tutoring services
- And the online course.
The significant difference, however, is that students get to experience all these in a more interactive and user-friendly interface, easy-to-use website, updated books, and increased number of tutors.
- Blueprint Prep Options
The Blueprint MCAT course is online based and offers over 240 hours of live instructions. Students can also join the live tutor sessions.
Their course options are as follows;
- Blueprint MCAT Online course, which goes for $1,799(6 months), $2,499( 12 months) and $2,999 (18 months)
- Tutoring ; Essential Plan Core ( $3,200), Comprehensive Plan ( from $3,840), Intensive Review ( from $5,600)
- Qbank ($249)
- Exam Bundles ( from $99)
NextStep MCAT Blueprint On-Demand Course Review
Blueprint is undoubtedly in the big leagues right now as far as the MCAT test prep companies’ ranking is concerned. In fact, you can now compare its online course with that of Kaplan and Princeton, as its pricing is also at $1,799 9 6 months subscription).
That should give you an idea of how fast and furious NextPlan, now Blueprint is rising. It even presents its packages way better than its competitors, so it deserves your attention.
Let me take you straight into the breakdown of features you stand to gain when you choose to enroll with Blueprint;
The Blueprint curriculum (material list)
When you register to Blueprint, you gain access to;
- AAMC online resources; this package is usually valued at $320, but you get a 15 months access, and that includes full-length practice exams.
- 30 learning modules, which will help you understand various exam-taking strategies and equip you with essential reasoning skills for a higher MCAT score.
- 160 learning Modules; which smartly integrates essential content to equip you with numerous questions answering strategies for better material retention.
- Statistical reasoning and Experimental Design for easy comprehension of content
- A Qbank with over 4000 questions
- Revised and updated MCAT books (6)
- A customized study plan; to help you adjust your schedule accordingly
- Highly engaging videos; to help you visualize various processes and systems
- Real-time Analytics
- Over 10,000 total practice questions, which includes 150+ passages
|Blueprint MCAT Online Course Materials|
|AAMC online resources (all full-length exams and much more)||15 months of access|
|30 learning modules||Strategy and reasoning skills|
|160 learning modules||integrates content, strategy, and quizzes|
|Revised and updated MCAT Books||6|
|Unlimited access to office hours with MCAT experts||Five Days per Week|
|full-length MCAT exams||15, including the full AAMC exams|
Blueprint practice tests
Blueprint offers students practice tests that give a good representation of the MCAT test.
In fact, most students agree that their tests are similar to those of AAMC, thus helping them understand the current MCAT test patterns.
Since the company has qualified tutors who have in the past helped students in their MCAT test prep, it’s natural if they have an idea of how the MCAT functions and how you should project you’re thinking to match expectations.
I also love the fact that Blueprint’s online MCAT course students benefit from 15 months’ access to the famous AAMC online resources, which you could otherwise pay $320 to access.
And they include the full-length tests, the section bank, question packs, and the official guide questions. If this doesn’t feel like a real deal to you, then I don’t know what will!
Next Step (Now Blueprint) books
Not only does Blueprint offer MCAT books, but newly updated books to be precise! What does that mean?
The books you gain access to once you subscribe to the online course are revised to match the 2020 MCAT and most recent official AAMC expectations.
There’s comprehensive coverage of the content, which includes various useful exam-taking strategies and reasoning skills that will help you achieve a high score in the MCAT real test.
I also love their new version of the Psych/Soc and MCAT volumes.
At the end of each chapter, you will find an extensive list of questions for practice, which is an excellent way of weighing your understanding level before moving on to the next chapter.
The books are excellently integrated with the online course to enhance your practice more realistically.
Plus, the precise one-page must-knows at the end of each chapter is a great way to go through the chapter summaries.
The six books package contain;
- 5- content books( New psych/Soc, BioChem, Chem/Organic Chem, Physics+Revamped Biology
- 1- MCAT Reasoning: CARS and Science ( Completely New)
Blueprint’s Qbank is one of the most extensive and most customized Qbanks you will ever come across. Its current value is $ 249, for students who opt to purchase it singularly.
The Qbank contains around 4,000 passage-based questions, up from the 2,000 that was previously offered.
Its interface is technologically advanced to allow you to customize your practice sets based on your current strengths and weaknesses.
Access to the Qbank also means detailed explanations to both the correct and wrong answers to help you understand why some of the seemingly right answers turn-out as wrong.
I also love its new generation analytics, which will help you understand the various similar patterns in your wrong answers in terms of reasoning skills, question type, and subject.
Students can decide to buy the Qbank as a stand-alone, combine it with 10n practice tests, or get it as part of the package in your online subscriptions.
Blueprint’s real-time analytics is one of my favorite features. You don’t just study modules or follow study plans for the sake of it. No!
They give you feedback on your progress, including where you’re going wrong and where you’re getting it right. And it’s through this that you will know where you need to improve.
Thus, you’ve higher chances of maximizing your score than you would without the advanced analytics.
Blueprint Plans Comparison
Blueprint’s online MCAR course has three plans. The 6-months, 12-months, and 18-months plans.
I love the fact that they thought this out and settled on allowing students to choose their preferred study plans, depending on their real MCAT test dates. This places the company on top of its competitors as it doesn’t offer more content to the expensive options. Instead, theirs is a term-based structure, which is very welcome.
In simple terms, all students access the materials Blueprint offers, but only within their (students) selected time-frame.
Therefore, the only difference between these three plans is pricing.
For 6-months you pay $1,799, 3-months $2,499 and 6-months $2,999, which I still find favorable. I mean, this is sufficient time to study. And with all the resources at your display, you can be confident of attaining that high score.
Plus they have a high-score guarantee (read the refund policy for more details)
The following are screenshots on genuine comments about Blueprint packages on various online forums.
Be the judge!
Blueprint MCAT vs. Kaplan vs. Princeton: Comparison
Last week, I took you through Kaplan vs. Princeton. And today, I want us to compare these three highly ranked MCAT test prep companies to see which one stands out in each feature category.
Pricing is an integral part of any product. MCAT prep courses aren’t any different. Some students would go for affordability, while others wouldn’t mind spending more cash.
The Blueprint Online course is offered in various structures, with the cheapest being the 3-months subscription costing $1,799. Their 12-months option goes for $2,499 and the 18-months option is $2,999.
They also have various discount offers running as per subscription, which you can take advantage of if you decide to sign-up today.
Kaplan also offers its self-paced online course at $1,799, and they too have a discount coupon going on. They also have a premium option (self-paced PLUS) going for $2,299, and you get a discount of $200 as well.
On the other hand, The Princeton Review’s self-paced online course will cost you $1,699. And they too are currently offering a discount of $200. They, however, unlike Kaplan, don’t have a premium option.
Therefore, as you can see, there’s really no much difference when it comes to the pricing of these test prep companies’ MCAT courses.
So, you should look beyond pricing when selecting the best among them for your needs.
Preparation books are a great combination of MCAT online courses.
When you enroll in any of the Blueprint subscriptions, you gain access to 6 books. The books are revised/updated to suit the current MCAT standards.
Among these, 5 are content books (psych/Soc, BioChem, Chem/Organic Chem, Physics+Revamped Biology), while one is MCAT Reasoning: CARS and Science, which is a new addition.
Their Psych/Social review Volume is also new and has been receiving a lot of positive reviews online.
Kaplan, on the other hand, offers a 7-book MCAT Subject Review set to supplement with the online lessons.
Consequently, The Princeton Review offers a complete set of 10 titles for their online students.
In this section, although Blueprint offers the least amount of books, they also provide tons of extra materials (I will cover them below). So, this somehow makes-up for this. Plus, their new books are relevant to the current MCAT testing.
Kaplan’s books are more detailed than those of Princeton. But The Princeton set comes with diagnostic exams, which is also a plus.
Blueprint offers 15 full-length exams, which include all the AAMC full-length tests. Additionally, they provide students with over 10,000 practice questions.
Kaplan, on the other hand, offers 16 full-length practice exams, while Princeton also provides 16-full length practice tests but complete with practice drills and diagnostic exams.
In this category, I find the Blueprint offer pretty hard to resist. Imagine having full access to the AAMC exams and thousands of questions on top of that!
All the practice tests from the three companies come with a detailed explanation for answers to help students separate the wrong answers from the right ones, no matter how similar they might appear.
Also, the full-length tests are a close representation of the real MCAT test, so if you handle them well, then you can expect to add a point or two in the actual exam.
Exclusive Innovative Features
Both Kaplan and Blueprint test prep companies have a Qbank feature, which helps them offer students with customized questions to help them improve on their weak areas.
Kaplan’s Qbank is, for instance, adaptive and usually on high alert to detect the student’s needs and act accordingly to test them on various skills. It comes with a 3D image feature, which is a great help in understanding various MCAT material. I find it pretty impressive.
Also, with the Kaplan Qbank, comes 2900+ questions. You start with simple questions, and the system adjusts accordingly and climbs up to harder questions as you go.
Blueprint, on the other hand, offers its students access to their Qbank with over 4,000 questions. Most of these questions are passage-based and cover all the MCAT content.
It offers full explanations on the correct and wrong answers, and students get the option to purchase it alone or combine it with the 10 practice exam bundle. But for online students, it comes with the package.
Now I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, unfortunately, Princeton doesn’t have this feature. But with the hundreds of practice questions they offer, they sure make-up for this in one way or the other.
Kaplan has a premium option, which allows students to gain access to more resources.
But both Blueprint and Princeton don’t have a premium option in place. Princeton only has one subscription, while Blueprint has three.
But, even with the three, students receive the same amount of study materials. The only difference is the time-frame, which entirely depends on the needs of various students.
I wish Kaplan would adopt this module as not all students can afford to pay higher prices for more materials. The good news, however, is that even with their regular package, you can still get enough resources that will help you prepare adequately for the MCAT test.
This option is available on Kaplan premium, which means you have to pay extra cash to access. However, Blueprint offers live-office hours sessions, 5 days a week, at no extra cost.
Princeton, on the other hand, could do much better if they had this feature, well apart from the med school advantage sessions.
|Pricing||$1,799, $2,499, $2,999||$1,799||$1,699|
|Discounts||$200, $700, $800||$200||$200|
|Qbank||Yes (4,000+ questions)||Yes (2,900+ questions)||No|
|Premium Options||No||Yes( $2,299)||No|
|Practice Questions||10,000+||Yes( Number not indicated)||Yes (Number not indicated)|
From the above Blueprint review details, I feel that their on-demand online course is suitable for many MCAT students. But, most importantly, it would be an ideal pick for students who have enough discipline to study by themselves, but couldn’t mind some live-sessions for a little boost.
Additionally, non-traditional students, who are operating on a busy schedule, will find this course favorable. More especially because they can easily access the website using their mobile phones and receive high-quality materials.
Lastly, if you’re a student who is studying for MCAT, but can’t seem to find any study group within your location, this would be an ideal course to start with. The same case applies to those students who can’t have direct access to a personal/physical tutor.
I also love their pricing structure, which means no student can be locked out. For instance, if you’re a budget student, you can decide to subscribe for 3 months, which in my opinion is enough to equip you with all the necessary resources you need to score highly.
Plus, the fact that Blueprint offers access to the AAMC resources is a plus, since you would otherwise have to pay for them separately. Besides, the pricing isn’t that expensive considering everything that they offer.
Considering all the above and the fleeting nature of their system and ease of use, I can confidently say that this Blueprint online course is worth your investment.
That said, let’s leave you with this table of the pros and cons of the blueprint prep COURSE;
Pros and Cons Comparison Table
|Blueprint prep COURSE Pros||Blueprint prep COURSE Cons|
|Unlimited live office hrs. access to the MCAT expert instructors||Their live-office hour sessions with an expert MCAT tutor can’t make up for a structured classroom experience.
So, you might have to look elsewhere if this is your ideal review environment.
|Excellent data analytics, which allows students to learn faster and better.||Although group discussions play a significant role in concept understanding, this course doesn’t offer its students a platform for virtual group discussions, which is quite unfortunate.|
|Gives students the ability to customize their study planners to suit their needs|
|The 15 months of access to the AAMC online prep resources are too good to forget!|
|Their Qbank is robust like no other within their ranking|
|They offer a well-thought-of subscription structure that doesn’t lock out low paying students.|
The Blueprint MCAT prep course became more efficient after the merger of NextStep and Blueprint. Now, students can enjoy the faster website, ease of use, and the impressive technological features equal to none.
The test prep company combines the online self-study classes with a live-office hours expert MCAT sessions to help their students master concepts.
They also offer 6 books, have a Qbank, and their pricing structure is favorable for budget students. Even after comparing this company with Kaplan and Princeton, it still has an exceptional standing, which makes it a worthy investment.