Do you know your MCAT prep game plan? Scoring a 31+ on the MCAT might seem like a long, uphill battle, and yes, there are lots of ways to go about doing it — but here’s a warning: Some the options are much more expensive than others.
Option 1. Buy an MCAT Prep Book, Study on Your Own
You’ve seen these impossibly-thick prep books before at Barnes and Noble or your University’s bookstore. They’re published by companies like Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Examkrackers, and they contain review material and tons of practice tests and questions. You may have seen an unopened one sitting on your friend’s desk.
When compared to your average-sized paperback book they seem expensive, but in terms of MCAT prep this is an affordable way to study — but there’s a big “if.”
Here’s the “if:” You need to be very diligent and disciplined for these books to work. You need to stick to a study schedule. If you’re using MCAT prep books and your practice scores aren’t improving, consider another option.
Oh — and here’s an insider secret I learned about prep books: Companies publish them as a way to ease you into buying an expensive live prep course.
2. Watch MCAT YouTube Videos
Online MCAT prep and review is the next-gen option that’s getting bigger and bigger every year and just about any topic tested on the MCAT is covered in detail somewhere on the internet.
Trouble is, it’s hard to find the best content and you can burn hours searching for what you need. That’s why I created The MCAT Club — to connect you with the best online MCAT videos.
3. Enroll in a live MCAT prep course
The “classroom model” of live MCAT prep is a common test prep option and many premeds attribute their strong MCAT score to a live course. You’ve probably been flagged down by a Kaplan or Princeton Review salesperson who tries to entice you into a booth with donut and key chain handouts. They’re trying to enroll you in a live course or an info session.
Live courses are delivered in a setting you’re familiar with and a skilled instructor can help you break through to a higher score. The courses are highly structured, which helps if you need a regimented push in the right direction.
But these courses are super expensive — at least $1500. That kind of price tag chases a lot of premeds out of the market, which is too bad. One of the best prep methods is simply out of reach for many people.
4. Hire an MCAT tutor
You would typically hire a private MCAT tutor to help you with one or two topics. Let’s say you’re scoring 10’s in Verbal Reasoning and Physical Sciences, but 6’s in Biological Sciences. An MCAT bio tutor can hone in on that one topic and help you boost your score.
Private tutors can be even more expensive than a live prep course, but it’s an option available for more affluent premeds.
Bonus option #1: The MCAT Club
I’ve been watching premeds prepare for the MCAT for years and I’ve slowly gathered intel on all the MCAT prep methods: I’ve seen strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.
The MCAT Club is the program I created to right all the wrongs I’ve seen with MCAT prep. It’s affordable, it puts you in touch with MCAT experts, and it gives you a program that is the perfect mixture of self-directed and expert-led. Learn more about the MCAT Club.
Bonus Option #2: MCAT Prep Apps
Mobile apps for MCAT prep can be a great way to supplement your study. Lots of people talk about Bench Prep, but your mileage may vary.