The path to becoming a doctor is long and hard. Taking (and getting a good score!) on the MCAT is a critical milestone on that path. Accredited medical schools in the United States require the MCAT as part of their application. If you want to get into medical school, you need to fully prepare for this rigorous, six-hour long exam. You can greatly improve your chances of getting a good score, and thus getting into your medical school of choice, by taking the best MCAT test prep course. Here we review the Best MCAT Prep Courses designed to get you ready for the mental and physical demands of this test.
Best MCAT Prep Courses – The Top 3
- Best MCAT Classes
- Self-Paced Study: $1799
- Classroom Instruction Course (Live or Online): $2299
- Personal Tutor: $3699
Industry powerhouse Kaplan understands how to deliver top-notch classes for high stakes test prep, and they don’t disappoint with their top-notch MCAT prep courses. Kaplan offers customized study plans that put emphasis on your weak areas, 14 full-length practice tests, and their proprietary MCAT Channel, an online resource that is available 24/7, giving you the flexibility to fit studying into your busy schedule. They are at the top of our Best MCAT Prep Courses list though because of their live, interactive classes, strong reviews by former customers, and the best MCAT prep materials.
Kaplan offers 540 hours of instruction and practice with their Classroom Instruction Course, which includes in-person or online classes, 14 full-length practice tests, and additional recorded video lessons. Their live-streamed classes are the best we’ve seen in any high stakes test prep course. With Kaplan’s technology, you can raise your virtual hand to questions. Off-camera instructors will answer your questions during class, giving you the instant clarification you need, just like in a traditional classroom. Kaplan also offers the most flexible scheduling options for their classes of any MCAT prep course we reviewed, which helps you fit taking this course into your busy life. Even if you miss a class, they offer recorded make-up sessions on their MCAT Channel. You can upgrade your classroom course to include three hours of personal tutoring if you would like that extra, personalized support.
Kaplan also provides a self-paced course, which includes over 100 hours of instruction through on-demand videos. This course has 14 full-length MCAT practice tests, which is a great way to not only assess your knowledge prior to test day, but it helps you build your stamina and confidence for taking the grueling six-hour long exam. With the self-paced course, you can access their MCAT QBank, where you will find additional practice questions and a library of study materials. You can upgrade the self-paced course to include their MCAT Channel or personal tutoring for more instruction, which is great way to customize your course.
If you are short on time, they offer a six-week summer immersion course, which can be taken in-person or online. This is a very intense session, but you will be fully prepared to take – and ace! – your MCAT and get accepted to your school of choice.
Overall you can’t go wrong with Kaplan. They are an industry leader for a reason. They simply deliver outstanding test prep materials. If you learn best with classroom instruction, this is the best MCAT prep course for you.
- Flexible study options for busy schedules
- Self-Paced Course: $1899
- Classroom Course: $2199
Coming in a very close second on our Best MCAT Prep Courses list is Princeton Review. Their self-paced course offers tremendous flexibility. If you are concerned about fitting studying into your busy schedule, this is the course for you! Their self-paced course includes 500 hours of on-demand video lessons covering all topics on the MCAT. Because they are on-demand, they can be taken at any time! You can also decide which lessons are even necessary for you to review based on your knowledge of the test subjects. Skip the videos you don’t need to manage your study time more efficiently. This course includes 14 full-length practice tests, including tests released by the AAMC, the maker of the MCAT. These practice tests and Princeton Review’s other practice resources will help you determine your weak areas, allowing you to focus on improving them before test day. Their self-paced course is available for 270 days, giving you plenty of time to study.
Princeton Review also offers in-person or online live-streaming classes with their expert instructors. We liked that each class includes a pre-class diagnostic test, which will help you assess your weak areas prior to the instruction. You will know what subjects you need to pay particularly close attention to in class in order to improve! Their classroom course includes 123 hours of live instruction, 14 full-length practice tests, and 500 on-demand video lessons that you can watch at a time most convenient for you.
We also like that they offer a variety of courses. In addition to their self-paced and classroom courses, they offer Private Tutoring, a Summer Immersion class, a Cram Session, and a CARS Accelerator course. CARS (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills) represents a portion of the MCAT. The CARS Accelerator course is included in their Classroom course, but you can also take it as a stand-alone session.
With their flexible options, we are confident you can find a course with Princeton Review that will fit into your busy life!
- Best for those short on time and budget conscious
- MCAT Crash Course: $49.95 per month
- MCAT University Course: $79.95 per month
- Complete Home Study Course: $599
Gold Standard (MCAT-Prep.com) has developed a subscription based program that offers online resources including eBooks, full-length practice tests, on-demand instructional videos, and a question bank. You choose the subscription that meets your needs based on the number of months you want to study and the amount of content you want to receive. For instance, their Crash Course offers 3000 practice questions while their University Course offers 3500 practice questions. There are additional MCAT prep options on offer to meet any budget and needs.
In addition to its strengths when it comes to substance, one of the benefits of the Gold Standard courses is that you can cancel at any time, which is great as you don’t have to stretch your budget unnecessarily once you’ve reached the desired skill level that you were aiming for. We also like that all of their course options include access to their proprietary online student forum, where you can ask questions and get advice from a community of people all trying to ace their MCAT with the help of this expert provider of high-quality medical study materials and courses.
Other Top MCAT Prep Providers
- Short lessons for better retention
- Comprehensive Live Online or In-Person: $2049 – $2299
- MCAT Extra: $3900
Examkrackers stands out as one of the best MCAT prep courses because of their class structure. Their classes aren’t built around rote memorization or delivered in three-hour long lectures. Exam Krackers structure all their classes, both in-person and online, in two-hour time blocks that include 50 minutes of instruction followed by a 30-minute practice exam covering what you just learned. The remaining class time is spent reviewing each question from the practice exam in detail. Instructors thoroughly explain the correct answer to each question. This teaching methodology gives you a deeper understanding of the subjects. You really learn the concepts as opposed to just memorizing the proper answers. International education companies are moving to this type of instructional design in all their course materials as it a much better method to help people retain information.
The Exam Krackers course runs for 9 weeks. The online course includes 115 hours of instruction. In addition to their online classes, which are completely interactive, they offer a three-hour review session every Saturday with their instructors to further reinforce the lessons from the previous week. Their online classroom platform allows you to ask questions, and instructors will answer you in real-time, just like in a traditional classroom setting. Their courses include six MCAT study manuals and five full-length practice tests.
Exam Krackers also sells just their study manuals as a box set for $274.99. Their manuals include short lessons followed by practice questions, which follows the same educational methodology that is found in their classroom course. If this teaching style fits best with how you learn, Exam Krackers is a great option to help you prepare for the MCAT.
- Best Course for High Achievers
- Courses with Personal Tutoring: $2299 – $4299
- Course with no Personal Tutoring: $1599
There are various notable features to the Altius course. They rank high on our list of Best MCAT Prep Courses though because they have independently verified that people who take their course are 8 times more likely to earn a score in the 97th percentile or above, with the average score of their graduates being in the 88th – 95th percentile over the past decade. These are promising indicators for the effectiveness of their course.
Altius offers a personalized experience with one-one-one tutoring combined with small class instruction and group study sessions. They also offer online access to a mentor 24/7, which gives you the most personal attention we’ve seen in any MCAT prep course. Their instructors all scored high on their own MCAT exam, and know what it takes to be successful. They can keep you focused and motivated throughout your study, and ensure you are really understanding the concepts.
They also offer admissions counseling for an additional fee. Taking the MCAT isn’t the only thing that will get you into medical school. Colleges have rigorous admissions standards, and Altius can help you navigate that process, giving you a better chance to get into your top school.
- Best Personal Tutors
- Online Classes: $1299
- Customized Study Plan with Personal Tutor: $1999 – $4699
If you like a course that is completely personalized to meet your unique needs and schedule, Next Step Prep is a great choice. Their course starts with a pre-diagnostic test, which will assess your strengths and weaknesses. They then build a customized study plan with your personal tutor to address your individual needs. No Next Step Prep tutor course is exactly alike as they are completely customized based on the individual. In addition to the personal tutoring time, they include Strategy/Practice, Content Review, and CARS Passages Verbal Review books in their course depending on the option you choose. Their tutoring course materials and fees are based on how many hours of personal tutoring you need or want, which again showcases their attention to personalization.
Their online course includes video lessons, review books, and practice tests. If you choose their online class course, you will have access to their tutors during online office hours. This allows you to still get that personalized attention that makes Next Step Prep unique among MCAT test prep courses in a more standardized classroom course.
- Great for people on a budget – it’s free!
- Cost: Free!
If you are looking for free study resources, Khan Academy offers the best free MCAT prep materials a. Their bank of 2800 practice questions and 1000 tutorial videos have been reviewed by AAMC, the maker of the MCAT, so you know they reflect what you will see on the test. The materials are divided into 14 categories, so you can choose to focus on your weaker subjects. These resources offer a great option for self-paced study, or they can be used to supplement other prep course materials.
- Best for Admissions Support
- Cost: $9395
Top Test Prep made our list of the top MCAT prep courses because they include admissions support for medical school. Their course offers what you see in other MCAT prep courses, including practice questions, prep eBooks, personal tutoring, and full-length practice exams. Their program is unique though as it also includes access to 550 medical school interview questions with tips on how to answer them, and a 90-minute session with a medical school admissions expert who can help you with your application, essay, and prep you for your important interview. There is no other MCAT prep course that we reviewed that bundles these elements into their standard course.
Our Best MCAT Prep list would not be complete without a mention of the resources developed by the Associate of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) who develop and administer the MCAT. AAMC offers Official Practice Exams and Official Prep Books covering all topics on the test. Sometimes it is good to go straight to the source! Like the Khan Academy resources, the AAMC tools are a great option for self-paced study or to supplement other MCAT prep course materials. AAMC does charge a fee for these materials, which can be purchased on their website.
…and to conclude
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in the healthcare field will grow by 19% over the next decade, adding more jobs than any other industry. At the pinnacle of this field are doctors, a profession expected to add over 99,000 new positions to its ranks by 2024. While we need more doctors to meet this fast-growing demand, the hurdles for prospective medical students are considerable. The above selection of the best MCAT prep will hopefully make your journey a bit easier.