The 7 Best MCAT Prep Courses Guide

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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 MCAT courses has been carefully vetted by the Test Prep Nerds team and recommended by real MCAT test takers.

MCAT COURSE

RANKING

PRICE STARTING AT

FULL-LENGTH PRACTICE TESTS

# PRACTICE QUESTIONS

COURSE ACCESS (MONTHS)

DISCOUNTS

princeton review logo

#1

$1,699

16

2,500

9 months

blueprint logo

#2

$1,799

15

4,000

6, 12, or 18

mcat self prep logo

#3

$9.99

0

5,000

Lifetime!

kaplan

#4

$1,999

16

2,900

Until You Pass!

Gold Standard mcat review

#5

$1,499

20

10,000

12 months

#6

$299

3

735

12 months

altius logo

#7

$2,249

10

Lifetime!

In a hurry? Here our the editor’s top 3 picks:

Magoosh MCAT Premium

4/5
magoosh

Pretty much the cheapest MCAT course on the market with video content and study schedules to fit your timeframe.

Princeton Review Ultimate

4/5
princeton review logo

A comprehensive course with subject matter experts that even includes a full book set for home study!

10% off with code: TPN10

Blueprint Live Online
MCAT

3.5/5

Includes all the AAMC content, a customizable study tool and some pretty detailed analytics that will help you study more efficiently.

Best MCAT Prep Course Reviews + Discounts

The Princeton Review MCAT Ultimate

Best for students on a tight schedule

5 of 5 stars

Read the full review: Princeton Review MCAT Ultimate Review

  • Most Popular Course: MCAT Ultimate
  • Course Formats: Live Online, Self-Paced, In-person
  • 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 14 practice tests that are comparable to what the AAMC tests in the actual MCAT and spans a 270 day (9-month) period.

Princeton Review gives students the chance to attend in-person or online classes with professional tutors. Similar to Next Step Prep, a diagnostic test is taken at the beginning of the course to let students know where their weaknesses lie.

With Princeton Review, students have the option to request private tutors, an intensive Summer Class or even a CARS Accelerator course to improve critical analysis scores (which is a common problem area).  

Wanting to take Princeton Review MCAT over the summer? We go in-depth on Princeton Review’s Summer MCAT Bootcamp here.

Pros

  • Score improvement guarantee
  • 14 practice tests
  • Tons of study options

Cons

  • No free course trials
GET EXCLUSIVE PRINCETON REVIEW DISCOUNTS

Princeton Review MCAT

Average Rating:
4.7/5

The Best MCAT Course For: Students with tight schedules who need flexible options.

10% off with code "TPN10"


Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)

Best for a customized and personalized schedule

4.5 of 5 stars

Read the full review: Blueprint MCAT Review

  • Most Popular Course: Live Online
  • Course Formats: Live Online, Self-Paced, In-person
  • Video Lecture Hours: 160
  • Higher Score Guarantee: Yes
  • Tutoring Available: Yes

The first comment you are likely to hear when you ask about Blueprint’s MCAT prep course is how it can be personalized right from the beginning. That is because their online course starts with a diagnostic test which it then uses to determine your baseline score and that score is used to chart your study plan. Blueprint’s Study Plan generator then creates a personalized study schedule depending on your selected MCAT test date.

The online course has a dashboard containing several tabs that give you access to a ton of study resources, your study plan and a discussion forum amongst other features. It’s important to note that Blueprint is the only company who has fully updated all their practice exams and diagnostic to be fully aligned to the actual MCAT interface changes for this year. Once you enroll in a Blueprint MCAT course, you’ll also receive their set of 6 section-specific MCAT prep books.

blueprint mcat book set

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 only, you will still experience the one-on-one attention from a tutor in the same way you would receive it in a classroom.

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).

Pros

  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Clear study schedule
  • Includes office hours

Cons

  • Expensive (starting at $1,799)
TOP-RATED MCAT PREP COURSE

Blueprint MCAT

Average Rating:
4/5

The Best MCAT Course For: Students who need both a customized study schedule and personalized help.


MCAT Self Prep

Best for a tight budget

4 of 5 stars

Read the full review: MCAT Self Prep Review

mcat self prep logo
  • 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. We’re big fans of the company’s mission and the founder, Andrew, is super passionate about the experience for their users.

The MCAT prep courses offered by MCAT Self Prep are extremely affordable: $9.99 for Basic Pro, $99.99 for Advanced Pro, and $999 for Deluxe Pro.

All of the courses, whether you opt for the $9.99 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!

Pros

  • Super affordable
  • Easy-to-use lesson platform
  • Free course offers a chance to try-before-you-buy

Cons

  • Analytics are lacking and require your own inputting of scores
  • You can’t utilize their study plan creator with the free trial
GET EXCLUSIVE MCAT SELF PREP DISCOUNTS

MCAT Self Prep

Average Rating:
3.2/5

The Best MCAT Course For: Self-motivated students who simply need structure in their MCAT prep

10% off with code "welcome10"


Kaplan Test Prep

Best instructors

4 of 5 stars

Read the full review: Kaplan MCAT Course Review

kaplan best mcat prep course review

  • 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 mcat

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 AdvantagePlus offering, which gives you access to everything Kaplan offers but also includes mentorship from a present medical student who will assist you in understanding the intricacies of the MCAT. This mentor will also guide you through medical school admissions and understanding how it all works. For most, I wouldn’t recommend paying for this additional service, but it can be nice for students who are really anxious about admissions and need some extra guidance.

What makes Kaplan stand out among these MCAT courses is the sheer amount of practice you’ll receive with 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 11 full practice tests.

All of their courses, excluding the Self-Paced course, offers unlimited access to Kaplan’s premiere MCAT Channel, where you can access live streaming of MCAT subject prep 6-days-a-week.

Pros

  • High volume of practice questions
  • Higher Score Guarantee
  • Vetted instructors

Cons

  • Short subscription length (5 months)
TOP-RATED MCAT PREP COURSE

Kaplan MCAT

Average Rating:
3.25/5

The Best MCAT Course For: Students seeking access and assistance from highly skilled instructors.


Gold Standard MCAT Prep

Best for students who want a Kaplan / TPR/ EK book set

3 of 5 stars

Read the full review: Gold Standard MCAT Review – A Little Something for Everyone

Gold Standard mcat review
  • Most Popular Course: Platinum Package
  • Course Formats: Live Online, Self-Paced, Books
  • Video Lecture Hours: 30
  • Higher Score Guarantee: No
  • Tutoring Available: No

gold standard mcat

Fifth on our list for best MCAT prep course is Gold Standard. Gold Standard stands out in our list of best MCAT prep courses because it offers a cost-effective, self-paced prep that can be customized to your needs. 

Gold Standard’s Home Study MCAT Courses come with 3 book-type options and 1 add-on. You can choose between receiving the complete book set by Kaplan, the Princeton Review, or Examkrackers. Once you choose this book set option, you then have the ability to tack on all Official AAMC materials for an additional $200. In addition to these commercial prep books, you will also receive the MCAT Practice Questions Book with 7 full-length MCAT practice tests.

In regards to online content, Gold Standard’s Home Study Course comes with 12-month access to its 8 ebooks, 30-hour science review video library, 5 MCAT CARS full-length tests, and a Medical School Interview Online Video.

If you’re struggling on how to piece together an MCAT book set with a solid study plan and video course, then this is going to be the perfect MCAT course for you. Utilizing their study schedules, you can customize your prep plan for 2, 4, and 6 months.

One thing to be noted is that, due to its payment cancellation structure, Gold Standard does not offer a satisfaction guarantee. Their rationale is that it’s impossible to measure how effective the student is in following the guidelines and study materials. Although I understand their need to protect their bottom line, I do find this to be somewhat concerning given that literally every other MCAT course on this list offers one.

Their highest package, the Platinum Package Plus, comes with 3 sessions of private coaching (30 minutes each). With Gold Standard MCAT Prep, you are given fantastic materials and resources, but the responsibility to study effectively is all yours.

Pros

  • Includes MCAT prep books
  • Easy to include all AAMC content
  • Can choose among top MCAT prep book sets

Cons

  • Clunky platform
  • No refund guarantee
TOP-RATED MCAT PREP COURSE

Gold Standard MCAT

Average Rating:
3/5

The Best MCAT Course For: Self-taught, bargain hunting students who seek commercial test prep books like Kaplan or The Princeton Review


Magoosh

Best budget platform

3.5 of 5 stars

Read the full review: Magoosh MCAT Review

  • Most Popular Course: 12-Month Premium
  • Course Formats: Self-paced
  • Video Lecture Hours: 60
  • Higher Score Guarantee: Yes
  • Tutoring Available: No

magoosh mcat

The Magoosh MCAT prep course stands out in our list of best MCAT prep courses as one of the most cost-effective. Their entry level package is a twelve-month premium account that offers 380 video lessons that span all the sections available on the MCAT exam.

One popular feature that Magoosh offers is a 7-day Money Back satisfaction guarantee that lets you cancel at any time during the period without having to part with a single penny. Magoosh MCAT prep is fully online, meaning you can take your study anywhere and at anytime. This feature is pretty nice, as some students we’ve worked with actually took them up on this offer.

On-demand video courses simply aren’t for everyone, but if you do learn well on your own, you’re going to save literally thousands.

Keeping with their online reputation, their website is mobile-optimized so that it can be accessed from any smart phone.

Their course comes with 3 practice tests, 9 extra CARS passages (that’s over 740 practice questions). During our review, we found that Magoosh has a practice question difficulty level that is slightly harder than that of the AAMC practice MCAT questions. The difficulty level can be seen as a benefit as students prepare for tougher questions than they may actually see on the actual MCAT exam, making testing day easier.

magoosh mcat review
Here’s an example of a practice question and text explanation on the Magoosh platform

Magoosh MCAT prep course is a favorite among students because of its amazing video catalogue that offers almost every topic and section on the MCAT in a simple and easy-to-understand format. Bonus features include resources such as flash cards and a glossary of common terms which you can use for refreshers during down time.

One major disadvantage we noticed of using the Magoosh MCAT test prep is the absence of any sort of live interaction with tutors or a teacher community for additional help. This makes the MCAT course more suited for students who prefer to study alone.

A new addition to the Magoosh MCAT prep options is the Premium + Study Plan. For an extra $100, you get a customizable study plan that is implemented right in your dashboard. In my personal opinion, having a solid study plan is essential, but shouldn’t be sold as an add-on for $100. Magoosh, if you’re reading this, include the study plan in the Premium course!

That said, if you can motivate yourself without the pressure of a teacher or peers, then this Premium MCAT course can offer you an extremely low price and adequate practice materials to supplement your personal schedule. For self-starters, you would do well to look at Magoosh as one of the most effective MCAT exam prep courses for you.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Very affordable
  • Score improvement guarantee

Cons

  • Few practice tests
TOP-RATED MCAT PREP COURSE

Magoosh MCAT

Average Rating:
3.7/5

The Best MCAT Course For: Low-budget students that do not need a tutor or peers looking over their shoulders.


Altius

Proven & effective score increases

3.5 of 5 stars

Read the full review: Altius MCAT Review 

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

altius mcat

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

Their Elite course, their most popular MCAT prep course offered, includes 4 practice tests and 105 hours of small group sessions.

Altius Test Prep also offers an intensive summer study program comprised of over 400 classroom sessions, private tutor sessions and assistance during admission preparation over the course of 10 weeks. This is offered online since Covid-19, so I can’t say I’d recommend this sort of bootcamp in front of a computer all day.

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 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 also takes great pride in announcing their students’ test results, which have historically been ranked among the highest percentiles in the MCAT.

Oftentimes, students relocate to these campuses for their 10-week 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.

Pros

  • Studies-backed results
  • High-quality practice tests
  • Lifetime access

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Platform feels outdated
TOP-RATED MCAT PREP COURSE

Altius MCAT

Average Rating:
4/5

The Best MCAT Course For: Students who want guaranteed results and prefer a classroom study environment.


How did you 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.  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.

The 7 Best MCAT Prep Courses

Let’s meet the contenders – each of these are awesome courses in their own right and what follows will be a summary overview of each, a ranked evaluation based on the aforementioned categories, and a short-but-in-depth review of the course overall.

We also did long and comprehensive reviews of each of these in order to go into even more detail – click “Long Review” to check those out!

Princeton Review

The Princeton Review MCAT Ultimate Course is the most comprehensive, intensive MCAT course offered both Live Online or In-Person.  123 hours of live instruction by a team of 4-6 subject-matter experts means you’ll be ready for the MCAT in as little as 12 weeks.

Curriculum:

5 of 5 stars

This 12-week course is designed to diagnose your weaknesses and improve your strengths. A team of 4-6 subject matter experts, each uniquely certified in a topic area, will help you to conquer complex topics that you will see on test day.

Pricing

2 of 5 stars

Princeton Review’s MCAT Ultimate is expensive but keep an eye out for sales as they often mark down prices during holidays and special promotions.

Platform

5 of 5 stars

Princeton Review’s LiveOnline course is extremely user-friendly and offers comprehensive score reports, subject-specific diagnostic exams, and on-demand videos all located in the student dashboard.

Student Feedback

3 of 5 stars

Many students who opted for the In-Person would have chosen the LiveOnline if they could do it again.

Read Full Review | Visit Website

Blueprint MCAT (Next Step Test Prep)

Blueprint MCAT is a personalized online MCAT prep course that utilizes diagnostic test results to create a custom study plan.  This MCAT course includes 240+ hours of live instruction over a 6-month period. In addition to the course, students can join 2-hour Live Online Office Hours with your instructor up to 5 times per week.

Curriculum

4 of 5 stars

Study curriculum is customized for each student based on diagnostic test results and all courses come with 15 AAMC practice tests. Instructors are required to have taken the MCAT and scored in the 99th+ percentile.

Pricing

3 of 5 stars

Blueprint MCAT costs the same as Kaplan’s On-Demand course, but is a better value with its Live Online Office Hour sessions

Platform

4 of 5 stars

This is a hybrid course with both on-demand video lessons and live-online small-group Office Hours which can be accessed from your online dashboard. The testing platform resembles the same features found on the AAMC 2019 interface. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Student Feedback

3 of 5 stars

Students show an average increase of 9-10 points from their first MCAT diagnostic test to their official MCAT score. Public student reviews, however, are limited which makes a full assessment difficult.

Read Full Review | Visit Website

mcat self prep logo

MCAT Self Prep

MCAT Self Prep is known as one of the most affordable MCAT prep courses available today. Their on-demand courses give students structure to plan out their MCAT study schedule.

Curriculum

3 of 5 stars

Pricing

5 of 5 stars

Platform

2 of 5 stars

Student Feedback

4 of 5 stars

Read Full Review | Visit Website

kapla

Kaplan

Kaplan is among the top commercial MCAT prep course options and provides a wide variety of course deliveries including Live Online, In Person, On Demand, Tutoring & Consulting, as well as Winter and Summer Intensives.

Curriculum

3 of 5 stars

The curriculum in Kaplan’s MCAT course is not fully comprehensive and requires a lot of self-study outside of class.

Pricing

2 of 5 stars

Kaplan is expensive, even if you opt for their on-demand course option.

Platform

5 of 5 stars

The adaptive Qbank and simulated MCAT practice tests make Kaplan’s platform top-notch

Student Feedback

3 of 5 stars

Students either loved this course or hated it, you’ll need to decide if this is the right fit for you before enrolling.

Read Full Review | Visit Website

gold standard banner

Gold Standard

Gold Standard is one of the best resources for MCAT review materials that an aspiring medical student can utilize. They provide various prep courses and packages that are tailored to the needs of prospective test takers.

Curriculum

4 of 5 stars

They offer thousands of review questions, content-filled eBooks, hours of video, and much more! They cover everything you need to know.

Pricing

5 of 5 stars

Several pricing options ranging from very affordable to relatively expensive. Priced fairly and flexible to your needs.

Platform

3 of 5 stars

Their interface and questions strongly resemble the real MCAT, but they don’t offer detailed tools for tracking your progress as you study.

Student Feedback

4 of 5 stars

Reviews are mostly positive. The majority of students are happy with Gold Standard MCAT Prep.

Read Full Review | Visit Website

Altius

With robust in-person and online course options, Altius is one of the leading providers of quality MCAT prep courses. Their strengths lie in how they structure their courses as well as their comprehensive practice tests and 90th percentile score guarantee for all students.

Curriculum

5 of 5 stars

Altius provides up to 5 different types of reviews as well as 10 exact-match MCAT practice tests. They offer both in-person and online classes as well as summer bootcamps.

Pricing

2 of 5 stars

Altius is expensive but comparable to heavy hitters like Kaplan and Princeton Review.

Platform

1 of 5 stars

The platform here feels outdated and is not very visually-appealing. A lot of reading and scrolling is required on this course platform, which isn’t super enjoyable.

Student Feedback

4 of 5 stars

Most students rave about Altius – their score guarantee and the sheer number of resources they provide make them hugely popular.

Read Full Review | Visit Website

Magoosh

Magoosh MCAT sets itself apart as one of the only budget MCAT prep courses on the market today.  This MCAT course includes 1-12 months of access to 380+ video lessons, 3 practice tests of over 700 practice questions, detailed text explanations, email assistance, and a 7-day money back guarantee.

Curriculum

3 of 5 stars

The video content is too simplified, yet the questions’ difficulty makes up for this and helps to identify low-yield gaps.

Pricing

5 of 5 stars

This is among the cheapest commercial MCAT prep course available and you get a ton of value for what you pay.

Platform

4 of 5 stars

Everything is streamlined and can be accessed online on any device. They have an app but it can only support flashcards so far.

Student Feedback

3 of 5 stars

The general consensus is that the Magoosh video content is too simple, yet it makes up for it with its difficult questions.

Read Full Review | Visit Website

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. MCAT prep courses come in many prices, many are budget friendly.
A super affordable option is MCAT Self Prep’s Basic Pro course, starting at $9.99, that will give you access to a personalized MCAT study plan and AAMC-recommended content.
You can also get 10% off if you use our code: WELCOME10.

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 for the following reasons:
-Many courses offer a specific score guarantee on the MCAT backed by a refund policy
-It offers more time to utilize the course (12 months of access compared to 5 with Kaplan)
-It’s received consistently higher reviews from our students than Kaplan
Read our full rundown in our recent post: 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.
Few high MCAT scorers have done well with less than one month studying for the MCAT. It’s not wise to assume you’d fit into that small subset of the population.

What are the best online MCAT prep courses?

Among our list of the best MCAT prep courses, all of them offer online MCAT courses. Here’s our breakdown for choosing the online MCAT course:
#1: The Princeton Review: Best for students on a tight schedule
#2: Blueprint MCAT: Best for a customized and personalized schedule
#3: MCAT Self Prep: Best for a tight budget
#4: Kaplan: Best instructors
#5: Gold Standard: Best for students who want a Kaplan or TPR book set
#6: Magoosh: Best budget platform
#7: Altius: Proven and effective score increases

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.

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