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The 6 Best MCAT Prep Courses Guide

Written by: Adaora Ezike, MPH
Reviewed by: Kristine Thorndyke

To help you make the best possible decision on your MCAT prep this year, we revealed the best MCAT prep course based off what you need as a student. Each of these courses has been carefully vetted by the Test Prep Nerds team and recommended by real MCAT test takers.

Best MCAT Prep Course Reviews

1. Princeton Review MCAT – Best Overall
2. Blueprint MCAT – Best Platform
3. MCAT Self Prep – Best Budget
4. Kaplan MCAT – Best In Person
5. Altius MCAT – Best for High Scorers

6. Prep101 – Most Comprehensive

The Princeton Review MCAT 515+

Best Overall

princeton review mcat course 515+ score guarantee
  • Most Popular Course: MCAT 515+
  • Course Formats: Live Online, Self-Paced
  • Video Lecture Hours: 500
  • Higher Score Guarantee: Yes
  • Tutoring Available: Yes

Princeton Review is the best MCAT prep course available with its flexibility and well-paced study plan. Its self-paced course is great for students who have busy schedules and need to work around a study plan.

The self-paced course provides up to five hundred hours of video lessons that you can access whenever you need it. There is no strict schedule and students are given the freedom to prioritize studying problem or just skip anything they already feel adequately prepared for. The self-paced course offers 16 full-length practice tests and all official AAMC material (including Practice Test 4).

Princeton Review gives students the chance to also consider a live online course, which meets for 40 hours across a span of 1-3 months.

For those who really need to have some score gains, there is the 515+ live online course that guarantees a score of at least 515+ after 123 hours of live online instruction over the course of 4-6 months – and the 515+ immersion course – an intensive full-time live online MCAT bootcamp (not for the weak at heart). They are constantly pushing the envelope with increasing score guarantees as their courses improve over time – year ago, their score guarantee was 513+. Imagine what it will be next year?!

If you’re looking for a score improvement but don’t necessarily need a 515+ to get into the med school of your choice, then I’d recommend sticking with their standard LiveOnline course, which still has a high score guarantee.

With Princeton Review, students have the option to request private tutors for live online sessions for additional focused work – but this is at additional cost and isn’t really necessary for those who don’t need extra assistance.

Best Overall
The Princeton Review | 515+ Score Guarantee MCAT Test Prep The Princeton Review | 515+ Score Guarantee MCAT Test Prep
4.5
$3499

One of the highest-rated MCAT prep courses that offers on-demand and live-online MCAT prep as well as high score guarantees. Get 15% off with code: TPN15

Pros:
  • Subject-specific diagnostic exams pinpoint strengths & weaknesses
  • Personalized homework is assigned after every lecture
  • Up-to-date MCAT Complete 9-book set is included
  • 16 full-length practice tests simulate the format and time restraints of real MCAT
  • Access to all AAMC material
Cons:
  • No more in-person class options
  • 515+ score guarantee is extra
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Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)

Best platform

blueprint mcat prep course
  • Most Popular Course: Live Online
  • Course Formats: Live Online, Self-Paced
  • Video Lecture Hours: 160
  • Higher Score Guarantee: Yes
  • Tutoring Available: Yes

My favorite part about the Blueprint course is the flexible online study plan.

When you enroll in their MCAT course, you’ll start with a diagnostic test – this determines your baseline score and populates your study plan. Blueprint’s Study Plan generator creates a personalized study schedule depending on your baseline score + selected MCAT test date.

blueprint mcat prep course

Above is the Blueprint study plan, where you can drag-and-drop all tasks and lessons to suit your schedule

The online course has a dashboard containing several tabs that give you access additional study resources, office hours, etc. Once you enroll in a Blueprint MCAT course, you’ll also receive their set of 6 section-specific MCAT prep books (which is great if you’re like me and prefer physical content to work through in addition to online coursework).

blueprint mcat book set

Here are the MCAT books I received when I tested out the course

Although it is priced competitively with other online courses, the Blueprint MCAT course also offers live-online office hours, making it way more affordable than other live-online offerings. The advantage of this is that even though you are studying on-demand only, you will still experience the one-on-one attention from a tutor in the same way you would receive in a classroom.

Although they offer one less practice test than Princeton Review (15 tests compared to TPR’s 16), I think that they have superior analytics that can be used to efficiently improve upon weaknesses faster. Read more on our full analysis in Blueprint vs Princeton Review MCAT – Which is Better?

The organization of content is easy to understand and their platform is super intuitive, as you can see in our demo video that we shared above. If you need any extra help beyond live online office hours, there are also various tutoring packages (though they’re pricey).

Best Platform
Blueprint Prep | MCAT Online Course Blueprint Prep | MCAT Online Course
4.5
$1999

A top-tier MCAT prep program that allows for custom study plans and analytics for targeting weaknesses.

Pros:
  • Generous unlimited 2-hour Live-Online Office Hours outside of class
  • New mobile-friendly format
  • Can test out of content you already know
  • Day-by-day study plan tool with simple drag-and-drop feature
  • Superb 6-book series called MCAT Review Book
Cons:
  • Lack of student reviews who have taken this course
  • It’s expensive for an on demand course
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MCAT Self Prep

Best Budget

mcat self prep review
  • Most Popular Course: Deluxe Pro
  • Course Formats: Live Online, Self-Paced
  • Video Lecture Hours: 100
  • Higher Score Guarantee: Yes
  • Tutoring Available: Yes

MCAT Self Prep has recently taken the stage as one of the best MCAT prep companies, going from a cultish following on Reddit to a real player in the MCAT industry today.

The MCAT prep courses offered by MCAT Self Prep are extremely affordable and are paid monthly – $19.99 for Basic Pro, $199.99 for Advanced Pro, and $999 for Deluxe Pro.

All of the courses, whether you opt for the $19.99 Basic Pro or the $999 Deluxe Pro, come with 10 content modules (Biology I, Physics II, etc), and a Create-your-own Study Plan Course (note that you don’t get the study plan course with the free course).

mcat self prep review

The Deluxe Pro is probably the only course that could serve as a standalone MCAT prep course, as you’ll have access to more specialized strategy courses for CARS, Science Passage Reading, etc. These strategy courses actually feature Andrew (in videos) and are mostly MCAT Self Prep created content, so it feels like you’re getting more for the price.

The analytics for the course are a bit more DIY than you’ll get with the other MCAT prep courses on this list, but if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves on this course, you can enjoy one of the best MCAT prep courses at a fraction of the cost!

Best Budget Course
MCAT Self Prep – Home of the Free MCAT Prep Course MCAT Self Prep – Home of the Free MCAT Prep Course
3.5
$19.99

This course is for budgeting self-motivated MCAT home study students who prefer learning on-demand.

Get 10% OFF with promo: welcome10

Pros:
  • Extremely affordable options start at $9.99
  • Customized study plan organizes & tracks study goals
  • Tutors are actual 97th-percentile MCAT scorers
  • Founder makes himself available to students
Cons:
  • Official AAMC material not included
  • Dashboard feels clunky
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Kaplan Test Prep

Best In Person

kaplan mcat
  • Most Popular Course: Live Online
  • Course Formats: Live Online, Self-Paced, In-person
  • Video Lecture Hours: 130
  • Higher Score Guarantee: Yes
  • Tutoring Available: Yes

Kaplan Test Prep has arguably one of the most comprehensive preparation package of all MCAT test prep courses, making it in our best MCAT prep course list. With the largest network of classroom sites nationwide (present in 43 states), you can likely find an in-person class in your metropolitan area.

For those looking for a more personalized approach, you can select the MCAT Plus offering, which gives you an additional 3 hours of private online tutoring, a CARS course, and AAMC PREview™ On Demand Exam Prep.

What makes Kaplan stand out among these MCAT courses is the sheer amount of practice you’ll receive with over 11,000 quiz questions. This is amazing, as we know that practice is one of the leading indicators of how well you’ll do come test day. You’ll also get anywhere from 70-320 hours of instruction and 17 full practice tests.

See how Kaplan stacks up with Blueprint in this Blueprint vs Kaplan MCAT Review.

Best In Person
Online MCAT Prep Course | Kaplan Test Prep Online MCAT Prep Course | Kaplan Test Prep
3.5
$2099

A commercial MCAT test prep with various course offerings that's best known for its high-quality instructors

Pros:
  • Adaptive Qbank makes for efficient studying
  • One-on-one coaching add-on available for all courses
  • Course offerings include in-person
Cons:
  • Course offerings are expensive – even for on-demand
  • Practice tests are notoriously more difficult than actual MCAT
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Altius

Best for High Scorers

altius mcat
  • Most Popular Course: Elite Live Online Course
  • Course Formats: Live Online, Self-Paced, In-Person
  • Video Lecture Hours: 200
  • Higher Score Guarantee: Yes
  • Tutoring Available: Yes

Altius MCAT Prep makes our list of the best MCAT prep courses as it provides a full suite of services from in-person classroom teaching and live online courses to personal tutoring sessions as well as admission guidance services.

The Elite course, their most popular MCAT prep course offered, includes 4 in-person proctored MCAT tests and 105 hours of small group sessions.

Altius Test Prep also offers an intensive summer program comprised of over 400 classroom sessions, private tutor sessions and assistance during admission preparation over the course of 10 weeks. At the moment, they are offering free round-trip airfare for these bootcamp sessions, which can be a steal for those who don’t live nearby. See more of our thoughts on the top 4 MCAT bootcamp programs.

When you first sign up for Altius, you will receive a no-obligation trial period of two weeks with the option of a full refund if you dislike the course. This may be a godsend for some students, as this MCAT course can feel a bit too reading-heavy and lacks the user-friendly platform that we’ve come to expect from a top-tier MCAT course in today’s age.

altius mcat practice questions

Altius practice test

Oftentimes, students relocate to these campuses for their 10-week in-person course, and Altius is more than happy to help with providing housing during this time. Overall, Altius can get you one step closer to being one of the highest scorers in the nation at the most competitive prices.

See how Altius stacks up in our Kaplan vs Altius MCAT review for 2024.

Best for High Scorers
Altius MCAT Prep Altius MCAT Prep
4.0
$2999

Altius boasts studies-backed, proven MCAT results. Included in all their courses are AAMC materials and tests.

Get $800 OFF mentoring programs with promo code: NERDS800

Pros:
  • Studies-backed results
  • High-quality practice tests
  • Lifetime access to the online course
Cons:
  • Expensive course options
  • Platform feels outdated

Prep101

Most Comprehensive

prep101 mcat home page
  • Most Popular Course: Live Online
  • Course Formats: Live Online
  • Video Lecture Hours: 138 hours
  • Higher Score Guarantee: No
  • Tutoring Available: No

What sets Prep101 apart is its average score increase of 15 points. The secret to this success lies in their straightforward, human-led approach.

Students who enroll in their live online class will have their own MCAT coach who will work with you one-on-one to create a customized study plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.

In every class, you’ll delve into 6-8 passages – meticulously dissecting each passage with your expert instructor to master MCAT concepts.

When you enroll in a Prep101 course, you’ll receive a hard and digital copy of the Examkrackers books as well as their Classroom Companion – filled with comprehensive notes, fill-in-the-blank sections, and targeted questions. This Classroom Companion is a godsend for note-taking in class, as the need to take extensive notes is minimized – allowing you to engage fully in class.

The Prep101 course comes with extensive practice – 32 in-class exams and 14 additional Workshops so that you can feel confident come test-day.

Most Comprehensive
Prep101 MCAT Prep101 MCAT
4.0
$2,395

With more classroom hours and practice exams than any other MCAT course on this list, you can rest assured that you will be getting your money's worth with this live online MCAT prep course.

Pros:
  • 138 hours of live online class time
  • 20 full length MCAT practice tests
  • Classroom Companion makes for easy note-taking
Cons:
  • No higher-score guarantee
  • No tutoring options available
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How We Choose the Best MCAT Prep Courses

We looked at 4 major categories (Curriculum, Pricing, Platform, and Student Feedback) when evaluating the best MCAT prep courses and ranked each course on a scale of 1-5.  After tallying the average score for each MCAT course, we then ranked them in order. While there might be other factors that impact your decision, these should get you most of the way in determining if a course is a good fit for you.

MCAT Prep Course FAQ

Are MCAT prep courses worth it?

Yes! Opting for an MCAT prep course is going to give you the structure and schedule needed to be successful on the MCAT. If you’re like most students who struggle on what to study and when, then an MCAT course is going to give you a solid study plan and some even have high score guarantees.

How far in advance should I study for the MCAT?

Most high MCAT scorers commit between 200 and 300 hours prepping for the MCAT. This equates to about 2-3 months (or longer) depending on other outside commitments like work and school. You can check out some MCAT study schedules here that break down what to study based on how long you have.

Is Khan Academy good for MCAT Prep?

Students have utilized Khan Academy as their main MCAT prep course for several years. Unfortunately, Khan Academy has recently removed their free MCAT prep course from their line of courses for reasons unknown. Their videos on Youtube will remain available, but content will no longer be updated.

Is Kaplan or Princeton Review better for the MCAT?

We generally recommend Princeton Review MCAT to our students who want longer to study (up to 12 months access) and want a specific score guarantee. The Princeton Review tends to rank higher among students as well. Learn more at Kaplan vs Princeton Review MCAT.

Could I do well on the MCAT without studying?

Probably not. All students should at least take the diagnostic MCAT test before considering an MCAT prep course. It’s likely that everyone has a few areas that can be improved upon through content review and practice. Although some high scorers only study for 1 month, that’s the exception and not the rule.

What are the best online MCAT prep courses?

Among our list of the best MCAT prep courses, all of them offer online MCAT courses – the Princeton Review’s has ranked the best overall online MCAT course for this year.

Winding Down

No matter which of these MCAT prep courses you prefer, it’s important to realize that the best study course is one where you are able to identify, focus on, and strengthen your weak areas. The availability of so many test prep courses means that every student has something to fit both his or her schedule as well as budget requirements.

If you’re at the end of this list and still feeling unsure about the best option for you, then you can consider the Princeton Review MCAT course options. This is our top pick, overall, for their comprehensive courses and higher score guarantee.

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