Our comprehensive guide to the best MCAT prep courses and classes available online & in person
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a crucial and challenging exam that medical school applicants must take. It tests the knowledge, skills, and problem-solving abilities that are essential for success in medical school and as a physician. With such high stakes, it’s no wonder that many students turn to MCAT prep courses and classes to help them prepare.
But with so many options available, it can be difficult to know which MCAT prep course is the best for you. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at some of the top MCAT prep courses and classes available, and help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs.
Below are the best MCAT prep courses to help you pass the MCAT on your first try!
The Best MCAT Review Courses of 2023
- Best Overall: Blueprint MCAT Prep Courses
- Best In Person: Kaplan MCAT Prep Course
- Best Live Online: The Princeton Review MCAT Prep Courses
- Best for Self Study: Self Prep MCAT Review Course
- Best Value: The Gold Standard MCAT Course Software
- Best Guarantee: Atlius MCAT Prep Classes
1. Blueprint Online MCAT Prep Course
Best Overall MCAT Course
Blueprint is the only course you need if you want to pass the MCAT exam.
When it comes to MCAT prep, there is no substitute for the real thing. The Blueprint MCAT Prep Course teaches you the material and techniques critical for success on exam day, while also providing access to our expert MCAT tutors. With Blueprint, you’ll master the science behind every question so that you can confidently answer them on test day.
Their classes are taught by experts who scored 517+ and have years of experience with the MCAT.
With 40+ hours of live instruction, 16 modules that are split over 2.5 hour sessions, and an unlimited number of retakes as long as your course access lasts, Blueprint is a comprehensive and effective way to prepare for the MCAT.
- Quality, Quantity, Affordability: When looking for an MCAT prep course, students are usually forced to choose two of these three features. It’s easy to find a course that’s affordable with a lot of low-quality materials, affordable with a small amount of high-quality materials, or an expensive course with lots of high-quality study materials. However, Blueprint MCAT Prep manages to offer an affordable package with quality and quality.
- Peace of Mind: As previously mentioned, there’s no excuse for a MCAT prep course to be stressful when the exam itself causes enough anxiety on its own. Therefore, some of the most helpful features Blueprint MCAT provides are the ones that reduce the amount of pressure on students’ shoulders. These features include the ample free study materials and their score increase guarantee.
- Supplementary Materials: For the vast majority of students who enroll in this MCAT course, the materials it provides should be sufficient to prepare them for exam day. However, there may be some of you who need just a little bit more in order to feel fully prepared. The good news is that Blueprint MCAT offers lots of extras to meet this exact need, such as additional practice books and personal tutoring packages.
- It’s difficult to find negatives with Blueprint. The pricing could be more affordable but they do offer multiple options for financing and the ability to buy the course in separate parts if you’re on a budget.
Blueprint MCAT Course Features
- Pricing: $1,799-$2,499
- Full length practice exams: 15
- Video lecture hours: 160
- Practice questions: 4,000
- Course subscription options: 3, 6, or 12 months
- MCAT Prep: Self Paced or Live Online
Bottom Line: There’s so much to love about Blueprint MCAT (formally known as Next Step Test Prep). The mere fact that they offer so much educational content in such a reasonable price point should be reason enough for most students to dive right in. But they go a step beyond and offer so much more, like their live office hours, numerous practice exams, and personalized study planning. It’s true that the MCAT is a test that comes with a lot of anxiety. However, studying with the help of Blueprint MCAT Review is one of the best ways to relieve some of that stress, hands down.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BLUEPRINT MCAT
The Blueprint MCAT Prep Course Discounts
Get $1,356 Off on Blueprint MCAT Online Course
Save $400 on Blueprint MCAT Live Course
Get 32% on Blueprint MCAT Self Prep with Affirm
2. Kaplan MCAT Prep Courses
Most Comprehensive MCAT Study Materials
Kaplan is another well-known and reputable test prep company. They offer a variety of MCAT prep options, including in-person classes, online classes, and self-paced study.
One of the strengths of Kaplan is their comprehensive curriculum. They cover all the material that you need to know for the MCAT, and provide students with plenty of practice questions and full-length practice tests.
Kaplan also offers a variety of online resources, including video lessons and flashcards.They truly provide one of the most comprehensive study packages available, and are one of the only remaining providers that offer live in-person MCAT classes.
- MCAT Channel: Kaplan’s MCAT Channel gives students access to live lectures from 1st-rate, experienced MCAT teachers 6 days a week in addition to on demand, pre-recorded content that is available 24/7. Best of all recorded episodes can searched by interests, study needs, or even your favorite professor!
- Wide Range of Course Options: Kaplan provides students different options for MCAT prep above and beyond the competition. This makes it more convenient for you for studying anywhere. Choose from in-person classes, a live online course, an on-demand self-paced class, an intense 6-week summer live session in any of the 4 cities across the USA.
- Higher Score Guarantee: Kaplan’s courses come with a guarantee we all can believe in. If your score doesn’t go up, you can do the same program again at no extra charge, or (the best part) you can ask for your money back. You can study up until the very day of your exam with Kaplan’s course materials, which do not expire until you take the MCAT.
- New for 2023: Prepare by taking MCAT quizzes on high-yield topics all in VR! Kaplan is enhancing MCAT memorizing through a partnership with Librarium, the world’s first virtual reality study tool.
- Pricing: Kaplan offers a top notch MCAT prep course, but it comes at a price. They have the most expensive on-demand option in our list, starting at $1,799. Their other MCAT prep options are even more. If prices is a consideration you can get a better deal with Blueprint.
Kaplan MCAT Course Features
- Pricing: $1,799 – $6,999
- Full length practice exams: 16
- Practice questions: 2,900
- Video lecture hours: 90
- Course subscription options: 6 months (for on demand)
- MCAT Prep: Self Paced, Live Online, 1v1 Tutoring, In Person MCAT Bootcamp
Bottom Line: MCAT students who sign up for Kaplan’s prep course will enjoy many different study packages and convenient access to live lectures with real instructors. Best of all is their impressive higher score guarantee.
Kaplan MCAT Coupon Codes
3. Princeton Review MCAT Review Course
When most students think of studying, they think about cramming and memorizing information. But with Princeton Review’s innovative MCAT prep courses, you’ll learn the material in a way that makes sense, so you can focus on your strengths. Their smart, engaging tools and techniques will help you master every topic on the exam–from biology to chemistry to physics–and put you on track for success.
Princeton Review’s MCAT classes are small and interactive, so their instructors can get to know you personally and help you reach your full potential. You’ll also have access to online resources like textbooks and supplemental materials that can’t be found anywhere else. Plus, they offer a wide range of convenient evening sessions that make it easy for working professionals to fit in class around their schedule.
- Quality and Quantity of Study Material: No matter which course they choose, students will benefit from an impressive number of practice questions, practice tests, MCAT prep books, online material, videos, and proprietary learning software (amplifire learning tool). The Princeton Review also stands by the quality of its instruction by offering satisfaction and money back guarantees.
- Expert Tutors: Optional tutoring packages dedicated to helping guide you through the exam and exceed your MCAT goals. Great if you need a bit of extra help, or motivation.
- Experience: With over 30 years and over 10,000 students guided, the Princeton Review knows how to make sure students pass, the first time.
- No Free Trial: Many students like to try a review course out to see if it is compatible with their learning style, or to compare it to other options. The Princeton Review MCAT prep invites students to take a free online test and attend a free workshop, but trying out the actual materials requires purchasing a course.
Bottom Line: The Princeton Review MCAT prep course students the ability to choose a self-paced, live online, or in-person tutoring course, although no flashcards are included. Fortunately, one thing students don’t have to choose is quality or quantity, as they provide both in spades.
The Princeton Review MCAT Prep Course Discounts
Save $900 on Princeton Review MCAT Live Online
4. Self Prep MCAT Course
Best Self Paced Online MCAT Prep Course
Self Prep MCAT is an affordable alternative to the full featured courses offered by Blueprint and Kaplan. Designed by experienced educators and professionals, this app is full of useful tips and tricks that will help you ace the test. In addition to covering all important topics, this app also features an interactive learning methodology that helps users grasp difficult concepts quickly.
By using Self Prep MCAT, not only can you save time and money, but you’ll also feel confident about your abilities when it’s time for the big day.
- FREE Course Option: No Get started with MCAT Self Prep for free, and upgrade when you’re ready. This is the best way to test drive the MCAT course for yourself and determine if it’s a great fit.
- MCAT Prep & Score Guarantee: The Deluxe Pro Plan is backed by their higher-score guarantee. They promise that their plan will raise your MCAT prep score or they will give you your money back!
- Expert Tutors: All MCAT Self Prep’s tutors scored above the 97th percentile (519+) on the MCAT and provide an individualized study plans and feedback and attention.
- Experience: Andrew (MCAT Prep’s founder) has successfully led several of his students to achieve 100th percentile MCAT scores. He also leads the MCAT Self Prep Tutoring Team and has worked one-on-one with hundreds of students. He also has vast experience as a professional practice question writer and analyst for both the MCAT and DAT exams.
- Study Planner: The Deluxe Pro plan comes with access to their Create-your-own Study Plan Course, which allows students to create a customized game plan. Students really love the Study Plan Spreadsheet that it comes with, complete with a score tracker for checking progress on AAMC practice problems over time.
- No MCAT Practice Tests: While they don’t offer practice tests per say they did build their course around the practice questions produced by the AAMC, the organization that actually writes the real MCAT. Additionally, they provide students with a list of free practice exams that can be used for extra practice during their program.
Self MCAT Prep Features
- Pricing: $0 – $999
- Practice questions: 5,000
- Video lecture hours: 100
- Course subscription options: Lifetime
- MCAT Prep: Self Paced
Bottom Line: This MCAT Prep provides students with everything they need to be successful in preparing for the exam at one of the lowest price points. The best part is you can get started for free, so you have nothing to lose.
Self Prep MCAT Review Course Discounts
Save 10% – MCAT Self Prep Deluxe Pro Plan
5. Gold Standard MCAT Study Materials
Best Self Paced MCAT Course
Do you want one of the most compressive and affordable ways to prepare for the MCAT? The Gold Standard has you covered as one of the best MCAT prep courses available. Their program includes books, videos, apps and full-length MCAT practice tests designed to help you get a great score. They actually incorporate some of the best MCAT practice tests and study materials from Kaplan, Exam Kracker’s and the Princeton Review MCAT. This flexibility gives you the best of both worlds while only having to purchase one course. Which really sets them apart.
- New Content: Students are now equipped with quality practice materials for 2023 with recently updated questions, passages, and explanations in their MCAT practice tests keeping with the AAMC’s trends in released material.
- MCAT Practice Questions: The Gold Standard has more MCAT practice questions than Blueprint or even Kaplan. This ensures you probably won’t ever see repeats and you’ll always have plenty of fresh content to review.
- Great Value: Offering more for less is the Gold Standard’s motto and they back that up with more questions, practice tests and a better guarantee than many of the other MCAT prep course options.
- Free Resources: Even if you decide to go with another course the Gold Standard has free MCAT practice questions, flashcards and other resources on their site.
- Dated Platform: Compared to the other MCAT prep course options the Gold Standard just isn’t as flashy or new. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you prep better with the least amount of distractions but it does leave a bit to be desired.
Bottom Line: With their large quantity of practice questions and free resources, The Gold Standard offers a very appealing MCAT course at a low price with à la carte options. Unfortunately, the platform used for their service is disappointingly outdated.
TAKE ME TO THE GOLD STANDARD MCAT
6. Magoosh MCAT Prep Courses
Best Low Cost alternative for MCAT Prep Books
Magoosh by far is the most affordable MCAT prep course we reviewed. They cost hundreds less compared to Kaplan MCAT or others on this list. Their course does not offer the support and overall quality of Blueprint MCAT but they are the value option that still has a proven track record of helping students achieve their MCAT objectives. They have a limited number of practice questions, so you might want to pickup an additional MCAT question bank or other extras depending on your needs.
- Breadth of Lessons: Magoosh has a large lesson library that is focused on high-yield material. Unlike Khan Academy, the lesson videos are big-picture level and organized based on subject. They have strategy lessons that explain how to study for specific sections of the MCAT and many of the lessons walk you through example exercises. Each lesson has a transcript you can skim so you can decide if you want to skip ahead or skip the entire video.
- Challenging Practice Questions: Magoosh has 3 full-length practice tests that are designed to look like the real exam. They have features such as strikeout and highlight. Each question comes with thorough text explanations. The practice questions are attached to suggested lessons so if you miss a practice question, you can go to a specific lesson. Each question includes a level of difficulty and many of them are hard.
- Embedded Study Plans: When you create an account with Magoosh, you are prompted to select a study plan based on the length of time you have to study. These range from 1 month to 6 months. The study plans give you daily exercises and even have built in rest days. This is a great way to stay organized and make sure you’re maximizing your study time.
- Email Support from Tutors: At this price point, it’s rare to get 1:1 support, but Magoosh offers email support from their team of MCAT tutors. You can email them with any type of question and expect to receive a response within about 24 hours. Answers are thorough and very helpful.
- Content: While Magoosh provides quality content, the amount of MCAT study materials is less than some of the other options. If you want a ton of multiple choice questions or physical books, you might want to consider a different course.
Bottom Line: Although Magoosh offers fewer questions when compared to some competitors, the quality and organization of their video lessons, structured study plans, and exam simulations make up for this in the eyes of many students.
7. Atlius MCAT Classes Online
- Ample Study Time: If you can devote a ton of time to studying, Altius is a fantastic choice for you. When compared to many MCAT prep courses that offer similar features and pricing, this one has the largest volume of cumulative study hours. Even if you’re not interested in Platinum or Full Immersion, there’s still enough material to keep a full-time student occupied over several weeks.
- Intructor Feedback: Not all online courses are effective at teaching dense or complicated material; this is especially true in medicine, which requires a lot of tangible experience to truly understand its intricacies. Fortunately, the instructors at Altius have this experience, and the online platform is designed to provide constant feedback between them and their students.
- Proven Results: It’s common to see online courses make a ton of promises that they have no intention of keeping. Once again, Altius MCAT prep courses buck the trend by offering three different guarantees and an independent study proving the effectiveness of their materials. Thanks to the founder having so many negative experiences with other online study resources, Altius is one of the most reliable and transparent options available for pre-med students.
- Course Formats: If you’re the self study type then you’ll want to check out our other options on the list. Unfortunately Atlius does not offer a self paced MCAT prep and instead focuses on the live-online style classroom.
Atlius MCAT Course Features
- Pricing: $2,249 – $6,299
- Full length practice exams: 10
- Video lecture hours: 200
- Course subscription options: Lifetime
- MCAT Prep: Live Online, 1v1 Tutoring
Bottom Line: Ultimately, Altius MCAT Review has a ton of great features, and solid instructors that more than justify its price. Even if you’re slightly interested, you should absolutely try one of their courses and take advantage of their 30 day refund policy. If it feels like a good fit, stick with them for the long haul and you won’t be disappointed with your MCAT score!
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is one of the toughest standardized exams around. Especially when considering you may be balancing work, school and a host of other responsibilities. The MCAT testing period of 7.5 hours can be brutal without the best MCAT prep course.
These courses not only include all the MCAT study materials you’ll need to pass, but also help you to create a study schedule. That way you’ll stay on course with a defined structure for the months of exam preparation. The best MCAT prep courses will also help you stay on task while providing clear explanations, interactive study tools, and practice exams that are similar to the real MCAT experience.
What are the best MCAT Prep Courses? How did you find them?
We looked for intuitive dashboards, mobile capabilities, adaptive study plans, and engaging instructors
We started by compiling a list of the top MCAT prep course providers online. There’s many reviews out there already and we took the top courses from all of them. Then we separated their courses into two categories: self-paced, live online. Some reviews include in-person but since we can’t afford to fly around the world to attend these courses we had to skip them for now. Some test prep companies offer on-demand, live-online and in-person classes, while others only have one single format. We evaluated each method individually as most students are only considering one option. Generally each teaching method has different advantages, and we created specific criteria for each method to rank the best prep courses in each.
Best MCAT Prep Course – Self Paced
A self-paced course provides the most versatile learning options. Flexibility is key here and it often gives you the ability to study around your schedule as opposed to making your schedule around your classes. Having this option gives you ultimate control of your MCAT prep. However, with this comes the responsibility of sitting down and sticking to a schedule on your own. You also won’t have open access to instructors, although many of the self-paced options do provide forums, email and phone support.
The best self-paced courses have customizable study plans and interactive tools that adapt to you. This allows you to target your weaknesses and progress at a faster pace than a class experience may offer. Adaptive learning is new and not all the self-paced courses have it, but it does offer you a distinct advantage of focusing on your problem areas to pass faster. Really that’s the ultimate goal and that’s why we focused on the self-paced courses the most.
Best MCAT Prep Courses – Live Online
These courses are best for those who appreciate the in person classroom experience. If you like being able to ask questions and get answers in real time then this is definitely the way you’ll want to go for your MCAT prep course. The best part about the MCAT prep courses are you don’t actually have to drive to them. You can take the class almost anywhere as long as you hear what’s going on. Having the extra guidance and feedback of an instructor is a huge advantage over the self-paced course. When you’re taking one of the most challenging standardized exams this can be a game changer. The only disadvantage is the pre-scheduled sessions mean you won’t have control over your study schedule. Instead you’ll need to create your schedule around classes, this can be a deal breaker if you have other responsibilities.
The best MCAT prep course that’s live online have engaging instructors to keep you awake and focused during the entire lecture. The ideal instructors provide feedback and answer questions both in and out of class. The MCAT prep courses with the most instructor interaction ensure you can get the help you need and all your questions answered quickly.
It goes without saying that your instructor should be experienced and knowledgeable about MCAT prep. We liked that The Princeton Review offered six instructors who were all subject matter experts in specific topics. This ensures not only will your question get answered but it will be correct.
In any case, we gave final preference to the course that had the best instructors and online tools to help you succeed.
We looked for straightforward explanations, quality resources, and feedback
You’ll find that most review courses don’t really have many huge advantages over others, and each of them will have different pros and cons based on how you learn. There’s also the problem that many of the providers all assert they have the same technology or features. We reached out to each provider to get course access and to compare the features first hand. While we took these courses for a test drive we looked for straightforward explanations, engaging lectures and easy to use dashboards. Believe me when I say they were not all created the same!
For example, some providers like Gold Standard MCAT prep, impressed us with their content in both quantity and quality. However their dashboard and mobile capabilities left a lot to be desired. Their videos even more so, but if you don’t need a flashy dashboard and power points then they would be a great option.
No matter what way you choose to study having help from a MCAT prep course will ensure you plan and prepare the most effectively. Unfortunately, even the best online MCAT prep course won’t do it all for you. There’s still going to be countless days spent studying, so it’s best to get started with your MCAT prep today.
What’s the best way to prepare for the MCAT?
Before taking the test, we advise spending at least three to six months studying. Obviously, that study period will vary based on your obligations and timetable, but plan on a lengthy period of time.
No matter how intelligent you are, you cannot put off MCAT prep and expect to do well.
One of those exams where you need to know HOW to perform well, not simply the content, is the MCAT. You must therefore study frequently and early. The MCAT will assess your understanding of a variety of scientific and social concepts and their application to many circumstances, unlike some graduate school entrance exams that do not evaluate much, if any, substantial knowledge.
Here are our top tips for studying for the MCAT because there is a lot to fit in before the big day:
Establish a schedule for your studies; do not begin your MCAT preparation without one. Make an actionable schedule for when to hit certain targets, how frequently and when to take full-length practice exams, and how you will generally plan your attack so you are prepared for the big day. A game plan is essential.
Instead of spending all of your time with your head buried in a book or a deck of flashcards, practice questions and quizzes. The MCAT assesses your capacity for critical thought and the use of substantial scientific knowledge in novel situations. The best method to get ready for the test is through working through practice problems. But don’t stop there; complete a few full-length exams in a test-like environment as well. To avoid being unprepared on exam day, you should prepare your body and mind for the actual thing. Make sure to include many full-length exams in your study strategy.
Even if we detest to acknowledge it, we all have areas that need improvement. You’ll be able to identify your skills and shortcomings as you work through memorization exercises and practice problems. Redirect study time from your strengths to your deficiencies, whatever they may be. There is no reason to continue spending so much effort studying biology if you are doing well on biology-based tests but struggle with biochemistry. Make that biology your strength by concentrating on it!
Don’t stress about meeting numeric goals for memorization or practice questions; focus instead on quality. This will just speed up your learning and can lead to a false sense of security. Instead, concentrate your efforts on your study’s quality. Focus on remembering information (read a flashcard or passage repeatedly if necessary) and learning from your mistakes (make sure to understand why you got a question wrong). Alternatively, take your time.
Make sure you’re prepared for exam day
Postpone the exam if you don’t feel ready as the big day approaches. There are about 25 times a year when the MCAT is administered, so there is no need to rush if you are not mentally prepared because you will only be setting yourself up for failure. Before the big day, you want to be confident and ready so that you can enter the room and rock it.
Before selecting our top 7 suggestions, we evaluated 24 different MCAT course options. The main consideration factors we evaluated were pricing, the quantity of questions in the test bank, quality of the video content, the exam pass rate for students who had attended the course, the technology used, and the qualifications of the instructors leading the course.
Due to the high cost of a MCAT prep course, having the option to try the product out before buying is crucial. Pass rates and teacher quality were also very important since they provide applicants confidence when making decisions that may affect their careers.
Additionally, we took into account actual user reviews, many of which were published on the Trustpilot.com. We also sourced feedback from the popular MCAT test forum: Reddit.com/r/mcat.
You should seriously considering buying an MCAT prep course given the high stakes of the exam. Most students will want the subject review and practical tips provided by the numerous MCAT prep companies.
The cost of MCAT preparation courses varies greatly, from $30 per month for low-cost subscription courses to $5,000+ for all-inclusive packages with tutoring. Nevertheless, the majority of learners choose to enroll in courses that cost between $2,000 and $3,000.
A MCAT prep course is more likely to raise your score in comparison to doing your own research using free resources or doing no study at all. You will get access to topic reviews, study materials, and practical tools aimed at improving your MCAT score.
We recommend everyone take MCAT classes to be fully prepared for the exam.
Many people narrow their choices down to either Kaplan’s or Princeton Review’s MCAT courses, as both companies have been around for more than 35 years. Their MCAT prep courses are refined and packed with features. The choice between these two depends on your specific needs and your learning style. Kaplan offers 15 full-length practice tests and over 10,000 practice questions. Princeton Review offers 11 MCAT books, and over 123 hours of instructor led classroom time (with their Ultimate Course package) which correlates closely with MCAT success. They also have a MCAT 510+ score guarantee course which can double your acceptance rate into U.S. Medical School. The Princeton Review goes above and beyond to make sure you pass, and that’s why we recommend going with them over any other provider. You can see my full comparison of Kaplan and The Princeton Review MCAT here.