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The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a test that determines a student's eligibility for acceptance into medical schools in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Caribbean Islands. Students are assessed in their problem solving, written analysis, critical thinking, and knowledge of scientific concepts.
The MCAT is a 7 hour and 30 minute test, so as you can imagine, students will be recalling just about every bit of applicable knowledge they have learned in school up to that point. Medical Colleges use the MCAT score that students receive oto decide whether or not they want to accept them into their program.
Friday, December 4th
If you're wondering what the word "Magoosh" has to do with studying for the MCAT, you're not the first! There is an old Persian word "magush", which means one who is highly learned, generous, and wise. Essentially the name of this test prep platform is a play on words. They've been featured by the San Francisco Chronicle, The Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, WireAcademic, and other news sources for their helpful materials for students taking the MCAT, GRE, TOEFL, SAT, LSAT, and other extensive tests.
MCAT Score guarantee
Magoosh has a score guarantee that promises students will increase their MCAT score by at least 10 points or they get their money back. They also have a 7-day free trial that lets students test out their platform and materials for a week to see if they want to continue to use Magoosh at full price. With the trial comes 60 MCAT lessons and 16 practice questions.
7 day cancellation
For those who decide to commit to a membership with Magoosh, they have 7 days to cancel for any reason and get a full refund. We think this is a fair way to judge the class for yourself and risk nothing.
2 membership options
There are two membership options to choose from:
One nice feature is the Magoosh program is 100% online. There are no in-person requirements for students needing to attend lectures or meet with tutors. Students won't need to purchase or find physical books or DVD's to get any of their information either. The platform works great for Macs, PCs, and any other device with an internet connection.
We like the simplicity of their two plan options for students studying for the MCAT. Their content is affordably priced considering how much valuable information is given to the students using their platform. We were also pleased to find that Magoosh has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Great customer reviews
People who have used Magoosh say they easily increased their test scores by 10 points with serious studying, clearly learned concepts that were confusing before, and felt that the explanations of topics built confidence in their ability to successfully take the MCAT. We recommend trying out Magoosh to study for the MCAT over any other test prep service.
UWorld is made up of business professionals, doctors, nurses, and educators who have created high-quality educational content to help students pass high-stakes exams. They were founded in 2005 by Dr. Chandra Pemmasani, who in his medical residency wanted to offer better, more affordable study resources for other students. The overwhelmingly positive feedback UWorld receives from students preparing for the MCAT makes them an excellent place to find test prep material.
7 day free trial
Although UWorld is extremely affordable compared to many other MCAT test prep sites, we understand that people want to really see what they are getting before spending money on it. Luckily there is a 7-day free trial for anyone who wants to sample the UWorld platform. This trial period comes with 100 questions and does not require credit card information.
3 membership options
There is a basic, standard, and elite membership option at UWorld. The basic package is $219, the standard is $269, and the elite is $319. The only difference between the three is the amount of time that you'll have access to the course content. The elite package gives you a full 365 days for studying, whereas the other two packages are either 90 or 180 days. The first 2 plans would work better for anyone who was the MCAT coming up within the next few months. All subscriptions come with the full QBank, 1,900+ questions.
Hard to find
We did notice that the full explanation of exactly what comes with the subscription is hard to find. For example, are there full-length test options? Is there any option for tutoring or peer-to-peer studying? Unfortunately, you won't find this here. However, UWorld assures their customers that the QBank questions are just as challenging as official exam questions, the interface is designed to simulate the MCAT, and the questions are written by experts and researchers.
Hundreds of testimonials
The core values at UWorld are student focus, innovation, simplicity, collaboration, intellectual honesty, and driving results. Hundreds of testimonials both on the UWorld website as well as other third-party pages attest to the professionalism and effectiveness of the tools that UWorld provides their students taking the MCAT.
The Better Business Bureau gives UWorld an A rating for their services. Overall, we are happy with what we see at UWorld. We wish they had some full-length tests and other avenues for studying to help students who have different learning styles. However, we are pleased with the positive response UWorld receives from students who have used their study material. They are also an affordable option for anyone wanting a lot of practice questions. We recommend considering UWorld for study assistance with MCAT preparation.
The Princeton Review has been providing test prep materials for students for over 35 years. In addition to the MCAT, course material for exams such as the TOEFL, ACT, SAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, DAT, and many others are available. K-12 students can get help with AP tests and work with tutors to review their class materials. Although The Princeton Review is notoriously expensive, they have high-quality test prep courses for just about everyone.
The Princeton Review is among the most expensive MCAT test prep sites. With $1,499 being the least expensive option here, this will still be out of the question for many students needing review material.
4 plans to choose from
The four paid study options for students include:
The MCAT 510+ guarantees a score of 510+ and the MCAT 515+ guarantees a score of 515+ for students who fully take the course. The MCAT 515+ Summer Immersion program is a total of 6 weeks from start to finish, so this is a good option for anyone with the time, money, and flexibility to devote to doing an in-depth study leading up to the MCAT. The one caveat with this course is that to be eligible for the guarantee, the student must have scored a 505+ on a previous MCAT test. Other fine print should be read before banking on the guarantee program.
Lots of student support
To contact customer service, a phone number is provided along with a chat feature built into the website. If you run into online glitches or any other problems or questions about your courses, reaching out to customer service is simple. Additional resources for students include webinars, advice articles, videos, college advice and rankings, and much more. The Princeton Review is set up to help students through every step of the study and admissions process.
Generally good reviews
The Better Business Bureau gives The Princeton Review an A- rating. Customers who have used the platform generally have good things to say about their experience. They report having access to plenty of information that allowed them to feel confident taking the MCAT. Students say that their scores improve after using the Princeton Review, so they are definitely doing their job!
Fantastic option - if you can afford it
The main issue for many students will be affording the MCAT test prep at The Princeton Review. With the cost of taking the MCAT and applying to medical schools, spending thousands more dollars on a study course might be out of the question for many. However, if you are able to spend the money, The Princeton Review clearly has expert instructors and a spread of course review to cover all the topics you'll see on the MCAT. They are a fantastic option for anyone willing to really commit the money and time for MCAT test prep.
MCAT-Prep is run by a company named Gold Standard MCAT Prep. They have been around for over 25 years helping tens of thousands of students improve their chances of admission to medical schools. Unlike some of their competitors, MCAT-Prep focuses solely on providing materials for the MCAT test. They claim to be "the only prep you'll need" before taking the MCAT exam.
The MCAT-Prep website could be organized and cleaned up a bit. At first glance, the options they provide are confusing and might be overwhelming. A little cleanup could go a long way towards helping students navigate their website.
8 test taking packages
MCAT-Prep offers 8 test taking packages for students. These packages are:
A more in-depth overview of what is included in each package can be viewed on the MCAT-Prep website. A chart is provided to compare each course and lets you know if they include physical books, e-books, a video library, the number of practice questions, and the duration of the online access period. The courses and practice tests are explained in various places throughout the website, which makes it a bit confusing to know exactly what they offer.
Few customer reviews
We like that there are a variety of options at MCAT-Prep that have a range of prices, so they are able to cater to a lot of different students' budgets and needs. MCAT-Prep claims they have received over 300 testimonials about their courses, yet they only have 13 total displayed on their site. These are filtered reviews, so all of them speak positively of the MCAT-Prep platform and materials. Unfortunately, there is no Better Business Bureau profile for MCAT-Prep and hardly any other third-party, unfiltered ratings about them either.
No refunds or free trials
There are absolutely no refunds or trial period for the test prep courses at MCAT-Prep, so we recommend you take your time to fully read through the course content before deciding to make a purchase. We can appreciate the amount of material available to students here, but we wish their website was more intuitive and straightforward. It would also be nice if they offered a trial period for students to get an idea of how extensive the MCAT practice material is and whether or not they like the platform and organization of everything. This seems like a decent place to find MCAT test prep materials, but we recommend trying one of our higher-rated sites first.
Kaplan has MCAT prep courses in the form of practice tests or full courses. Products are recommended based on how long you have before taking the MCAT (3+ months, 1-3 months, or less than one month), schedule flexibility for studying, and if you prefer face-to-face or online learning. Kaplan boasts that their platform is used in over 36 countries by 2 million+ people a year.
10 MCAT study options
Students can choose one or more of the following options when they sign up with Kaplan:
700 hours of MCAT instruction
The Kaplan courses include up to 700 hours of instruction and practice material for members. As you go through the material, the program adapts to the level of the student and builds from there. In addition, students are able to take 16 different full-length practice tests to identify areas they need to work on and get a feel for what the actual MCAT will be like. They also have access to 8 different books, considered to be the best in MCAT prep.
As the MCAT is modified year to year, the Kaplan study course adapts to these changes to keep their content as relevant as possible. Live courses give students round-the-clock access to interact with teachers and students. Since the course is flexible with students' schedules, they can watch live lectures or view them on-demand later. Courses can be filtered by teacher and topic for specific areas of study.
Higher score guarantee
Kaplan guarantees that you'll get a higher score on your MCAT if you are taking it over again. If you don't, they will either let you continue using their platform for free or give all of your money back. This should be reassuring for students looking to really put in the time to use Kaplan's resources. It also shows that a lot of students use their platform after having already taken the MCAT at least once.
Unfortunately, Kaplan only has a C- rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). A common complaint from students is that they have paid money and adjusted schedules for test prep classes that were later cancelled. However, as far as course material and how helpful Kaplan was in preparing students for the MCAT, they receive great responses from users.
Overall, we found Kaplan to be expensive. If you're just starting out with test prep and have other resources up your sleeve for reviewing MCAT material, this might not be a budget-friendly starting place. We are concerned about their low BBB rating, but we see the value in the materials offered here for students who really need to improve their scores. If you need to improve your MCAT score and have the money, Kaplan is a good place to go.
MCAT Cracker is a 365 day membership-based MCAT study course. There is no information on their website about when they were founded, where they are based out of, if they have a score guarantee, or any other important details that customers like to know before handing over their money. We are unimpressed with their lack of information about the MCAT study materials they offer as well as their failure to provide transparent pricing.
The MCAT Cracker website is vague about what they offer. An explanation video of the platform is one of the first things that comes up when you visit the site. It simply tells prospective members that MCAT Cracker helps medical students study for the MCAT and have access to practice tests, watch tutorial videos and explanations, and identify areas of weakness. In short, the video is unhelpful and doesn't give us specifics about the quantity, quality, or cost of using their service.
Right away, it was apparent that MCAT Cracker was not going to be transparent with their pricing. We don't like this because students who need access to study materials want straight answers about whether or not they have the money for the program and they want to start using it right away. Technically you can "sign up for free" and get a diagnostic exam and make an account. MCAT Cracker says that to unlock all 3 full length practice tests, they have a "limited time promotion going on right now". What this really means is you need to jump through hoops and make an account with them before they tell you how much their platform costs and exactly what is included. Not cool.
Once we created our free account, we were able to view a full list of course materials. In order to use most of them, you'll need to upgrade your account. The cost is $149 for a one-year membership. The membership includes 3 full practice tests, over 800 questions, video refresher course series on a few different topics, and other less relevant features like free updates, 24/7 support, access on any device, and more.
Lack of customer testimonials
There is hardly any feedback to be found about MCAT Cracker from students who have used their materials. They do not have a Better Business Bureau profile page or rating, so we aren't able to see how well they measure up to their competition that way. MCAT Cracker has only three of their own testimonials on their website, so there just isn't much to go on.
Call us skeptical
All of this makes us a bit skeptical about paying the money to use their MCAT course. We suggest skipping over MCAT Cracker and using a higher-rated site for your MCAT test preparation.
For students hoping to get into certain medical schools (or any medical school), their performance on the MCAT is a big factor in determining their future. Having to retake such a huge test due to a bad score is not only expensive (a few hundred dollars) and mentally exhausting, but also could end up costing you a year or two of time if you aren't able to achieve your desired score in time for admission deadlines.
The best way to ensure a good MCAT score is simply to practice, practice, practice. There are great online resources designed specifically for helping medical students prep to succeed on the MCAT. Investing the time and money to use a reputable online program will help you succeed when you take a test as critical as the MCAT. You'll be able to go into your test with confidence, peace of mind, and of course, a lot of knowledge.
There are quite a few MCAT test prep services to choose from out there. Before buying a membership for one of them, we suggest you keep the following criteria in mind:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best MCAT test prep programs available today. We hope this information helps you feel confident and successful when you take the MCAT!
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Sun, 22 Nov 2020