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The 10 Best MCAT Prep Courses

The 10 Best MCAT Prep Courses

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What Is the MCAT?

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a mandatory test required for all students wanting to become a doctor in America and Canada.

It has been part of the medical school admissions process for over 90 years and is sat by 85,000 students per year.

The MCAT is a standardized test issued by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). It consists of 230 multiple-choice questions.

The MCAT comes in four sections:

  1. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  2. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
  3. Biological and Biochemical foundations of Living Systems
  4. Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behaviour

This test assesses your readiness for medical school, and it is designed to be challenging.

The three assessment areas test your physical and biological science knowledge, verbal reasoning and your writing skills.

For more on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) see our dedicated article.

MCAT Prep Courses
MCAT Prep Courses

Choosing the Right Prep Course

Preparing effectively for the MCAT is going to make a considerable difference to your result and your medical school application.

As someone who has a passion for becoming a medical professional, you should already be taking the relevant courses and classes such as biology, anatomy and physics. This means that, ideally, you will already have a knowledge base to help you answer the MCAT questions.

The point of a prep course is to help you become familiar with the test process, timing and wording of the questions.

The cost of these courses varies from free to $10,000, so you need to make sure you are investing in the right one.

Before making your decision, consider:

  • Your learning needs – Do you feel that you would benefit from 1:1 tutoring, with constant feedback and support? Do you want a personalized course where you have the time and the freedom to get the help you need? Or would you benefit from a self-paced course that you fit around your schedule?

  • Your location – Are you in an area that accommodates for 1:1 tutoring, or is a course that offers online tutoring better suited?

  • The time you have available – Are you currently planning a year or more ahead or is your MCAT just around the corner? If you have time to play with, then maybe an online course – either instructor-led or self-paced – would be ideal. That way, you can learn at a more relaxed speed. Or are you in need of an immersive course, that will have you scoring top marks in five weeks?

  • Your budget – The MCAT prep courses below vary in price – some of which are excellent value for money. Determine what factors are your non-negotiables and see which courses work within your budget.

For example, the course has to have the facility to create a schedule but to also allow you to re-watch sessions that you may have missed. Or the course needs to have the option to add on a couple of 1:1 tutoring sessions at a later date if required.

The 10 of the Best MCAT Prep Courses for 2023

1. Magoosh MCAT

Cost: $179 for 1 month or $199 12 months
Course delivery: Online self-paced
Study planner: Yes
Books included: No
Guarantee: 10+ point improvement on your score or your money back

If you take the 12-month package, then this course is excellent value for money.

Magoosh offers 24/7 email support and access to over 380 learning videos.

Each exam question comes with an explanation, and there are lectures on how to answer specific sections of the exam.

Things to consider: The list of questions is not as extensive as other courses, and email replies can take around 24 hours.

Visit Magoosh MCAT

2. The Princeton Review MCAT

Cost: $1,499 to $6,499
Course delivery: Online and in-person, self-paced and live
Study planner: Yes
Books included: Yes
Guarantee: Higher score or your money back

The Princeton Review has helped over 100,000 students pass their MCAT first time.

Its resource library holds over 500 videos, over 1,000 practice questions and 10 MCAT books. Its advanced software can track your progress and show your current performance level.

This course promises to get you an MCAT score of 510+, tripling your chances of being accepted into medical school.

Things to consider: This is an excellent course that ticks all the boxes, if you have the budget for it. The only negative seems to be that some people feel there are too many resources.

Visit The Princeton Review MCAT

3. Altius MCAT Prep Course

Cost: $2,499 to $9,999
Course delivery: 1:1 tutoring, live online classes, live in-person classes
Study planner: Unknown
Books included: Unknown
Guarantee: Retake the program for free if you do not score in the top 90th percentile.

The Altius MCAT Prep Course is designed to inspire and motivate you to score your absolute best with over 100 hours of test prep, and regular office hours.

The lessons are delivered in various ways depending on the package you choose. As well as the standard program, you can also choose to subscribe to one of two summer full-immersion programs.

Altius is so confident with its course that it publishes the MCAT results of all its students.

Things to consider: The Altius website is not particularly user friendly, and a bit outdated. The course details don’t confirm if you receive any books or a personalized study planner.

Visit Altius MCAT Prep Course

4. Aptare Prep MCAT

Cost: $49 to $199 for 15-day to 365-day access
Course delivery: Self-paced and online
Study planner: No
Books included: No
Guarantee: None

This is one of the most budget-friendly courses, but it is also the most basic.

Flashcards and the newest AAMC materials are readily available, and the program allows you to create your own practice test. You can make it as easy or as challenging as you like, and you can choose to test yourself on specific subjects only.

Things to consider: There are no video lectures and you can’t access previous lessons. This course is mainly for those who prefer to take as many practice papers as possible. The course does, however, show you your percentile rank based on your practices.

This course is also not standardized with the AAMC.

Visit Aptare Prep MCAT

5. Blueprint Online MCAT Prep Course

Cost: $1,799 to $2,999 for 6 months to 18 months access
Course delivery: Self-study online and live-online classes
Study planner: Yes
Books included: Yes
Guarantee: High MCAT score, or your money back

This course is excellent value for money as it offers a wealth of resources, from eBooks to a personal study plan and office hour sessions.

The instructors all scored in the top 99th percentile of the MCAT, and the course comes with a score increase guarantee.

Things to consider: The Blueprint course is an excellent option if you are wanting a self-paced course. The only negative is that it does not come with flashcards. However, there are plenty of other resources available.

Visit Blueprint Online MCAT Prep Course

6. Examkrackers MCAT

Cost: $1,199 to $1,745
Course delivery: Online self-led or instructor-led
Study planner: Yes
Books included: Yes
Guarantee: None

Examkrackers has provided MCAT study courses for over 20 years and has achieved excellent results.

Its 'lecture – test – review' process is designed so you retain the maximum amount of information.

The course provides bi-weekly group study sessions and 115 hours of interactive-online instruction, and extensive reading material is provided.

There is an option on the website for a free 15 minute MCAT coaching session. The goal of this session is to establish your learning needs and goals. There will also be an opportunity to ask any questions about the course.

Things to consider: The website is not user-friendly, and the course options are not that clear. However, there are options for self-paced learning, instructor-led and 1:1 tutoring, and you will get access to a library full of resources.

Visit Examkrackers MCAT

7. Gold Standard MCAT Prep Course

Cost: $35.95 to $1,499
Course delivery: Online only
Study planner: Yes
Books included: Yes
Guarantee: Free 6-month repeat if you do not achieve the score you want

This course offers subscriptions for all budgets. It also has a host of free resources and questions.

The resources are updated continuously and now include prep materials specifically for the 2020 test.

Gold Standard offers flexibility in course options and duration and can boast that it has the most practice questions out of all the MCAT prep courses.

Things to consider: The website is messy and has a lot of information, including courses from other companies. If you are someone who needs information to be easily available, then you will struggle with this website.

Visit Gold Standard MCAT Prep Course

MCAT Prep Courses
MCAT Prep Courses

8. Kaplan MCAT Prep

Cost: $1,799 to $6,999
Course delivery: Online or in-person
Study planner: No
Books included: Yes
Guarantee: High score or your money back, and a free repeat if you are not happy with the result

Kaplan offers several course options including:

  • DIY – Self-paced and self-led
  • Online – With support from a team of teachers
  • Bootcamp – 5 weeks intensive and uninterrupted program
  • In-person – 1:1 tutoring

All courses give you access to up to 700 hours of preparation, as well as a library of resources, quizzes and practice tests.

Kaplan itself is known for its test preparation courses and offers tutoring all over the country – not many other companies have this facility.

The course content is designed to recognize your strengths and weaknesses so that you know what areas need more preparation.

Things to consider: The Kaplan MCAT prep courses do not exceed five months, so if you plan to spend longer preparing, then you should consider another course. The fees are also quite expensive considering the subscription length.

Visit Kaplan MCAT Prep

9. Khan Academy MCAT Prep Course

Cost: Free
Course delivery: Online self-paced
Study planner: No
Books included: No
Guarantee: None

This is the only exclusively free MCAT prep course. However, come September 2021, it will no longer be updated or maintained, so take advantage while you can.

The course is created by the Khan Academy and is reviewed by the AAMC. The main focus is on teaching you about the actual subjects, rather than just how to pass the MCAT.

There are 14 subject areas, including physical and chemical processes, cells, reasoning skills and biomolecules.

Things to consider: First, the course is set to expire. Second, this is not a comprehensive program – there is no tutoring or varied teaching styles. It is a basic, free course.

For those with little to no budget, it will provide you with some preparation, but it is best to use the Khan prep course alongside another one.

Visit Khan Academy MCAT Prep Course

10. MCAT Self-Prep

Cost: Free to $999 Course delivery: Online self-paced Study planner: Yes Books included: No Guarantee: Score improvement guarantee but no details on compensation if not achieved

This course comes with four options:

  1. Free
  2. Basic Pro – $9.99
  3. Advanced Pro – $99.99
  4. Deluxe Pro – $999

All four options come with access to an MCAT video collection and all 10 modules.

The higher you upgrade, the more resources become available. Paid plans come with a study plan, and the Deluxe Pro offers access to eight mastery courses.

Things to consider: There are no full practice tests and the lecture delivery methods differ from the other courses. If you are looking for a more traditional approach, with lots of practice questions, then this may not be the course for you.

Visit MCAT Self-Prep

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of great options, especially if you have the budget.

Before making any final decisions, take some time to note down exactly what you want from an MCAT prep course and see which ones match your list.

For some, your budget may be the biggest problem, so consider looking to see if there are any discount codes. Likewise, subscribe to the course mailing list. You may be sent an introductory offer, discount code for new subscribers or details of any sales.

With the power of the internet and technology, tutoring and exam preparation is so much more accessible. But, if you do have any questions regarding a course, do contact the provider and ask all the questions you need. A financial investment is a financial investment, no matter how big or small.

One final thing, most of these courses offer some kind of money-back guarantee. Before committing, double-check the terms and conditions of this offer, as well as the course cancellation terms and freeze periods.

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