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While the answer to that question is going to depend on your specific needs (tutoring vs. online classes, directed study vs. self-paced prep), the MCAT itself is unavoidable if you dream of being a doctor. Standing for the Medical College Admissions Test, the MCAT is a valuable metric that can set you apart from your peers in the gauntlet of admissions to prestigious and well-regarded medical institutions.
Scoring well on the MCAT is critically important in the medical school admissions process. Admissions committees use MCAT scores as a standardized metric to assess the academic preparedness of applicants. A strong MCAT score can significantly enhance an applicant's chances of gaining admission to their desired medical school, opening doors to a fulfilling career in medicine.
Monday, December 11th
Where some test-prep services on our list emphasize tightly controlled and high-priced study plans and daily lessons, Uworld focuses on high-quality self-paced test-prep integrated with AI driven improvement, time efficient materials, and an engaging user interface. Here's how it breaks down:
A single high-quality offering
Uworld only sells one product, and your price is going to be determined by the length of your subscription: $299 for 90 day access, $349 for 180 day access, and $399 for 360 day access. At those prices, you'll get access to the following materials:
Less overwhelming, more active
Uworld addresses a common problem across MCAT prep: many companies simply overwhelm their customers with a huge amount of preparatory materials, which many simply do not have time to complete. In contrast, Uworld designs their materials around the concept of active learning: learning that proceeds through manipulation of a subject, as opposed to listening/reading alone. In other words, instead of just watching videos and taking notes, Uworld works by having you manipulate the concepts in question, and using a data-driven process to help you track and surface areas in need of improvement.
Generally good reviews, no standard refund policy
User reviews of Uworld are generally good. Uworld receives glowing reviews from MCAT-dedicated study forums for being a still-expensive-but-well-worth-it tool for study prep. That being said, Uworld does receive mixed reviews from some aggregate review sites due to apparent poor customer performance. In addition, Uworld does not include any kind of score guarantee, and refunds are processed on a case-by-case basis, so keep in mind that you likely won't be able to test out the product and ask for a refund without negotiating with customer service.
The best all-around prep-tool out there
Uworld is our top pick for a general MCAT study tool. It's perfect if you're just looking for a well-designed, science-backed tool for improving your score, or as an easy-to-use addition to your current study plan. Even though $299 is a significant sum, we think that Uworld is one of the most polished, well explained, well-designed, and well-worth-the-price MCAT prep products out there.
With a module-based, customizable MCAT learning program, Blueprint tends to be slightly more expensive than their competitors offering self-lead and live-online MCAT courses. So, if Blueprint is generally more expensive, what is it about their service that justifies the cost?
A high-quality base plan
Blueprint's MCAT test prep plans come with a wide-ranging inventory of materials. In fact, here's what comes included with all of their MCAT test-prep plans:
What sets them apart
The main thing that sets Blueprint apart is their usage of interactive modules. Where competitors rely primarily on recordings, Blueprint's modules promise a more interactive and engaging experience, which could be excellent for students who prefer a more engaging test prep option. Additionally, while competitors offer customizable Qbanks, Blueprint's AI-powered Qbank surfaces only the most needed practice questions based on your previous performance. In short, Blueprint's generally-higher base price appears to be justified by a more customized, interactive MCAT test-prep.
Self-paced and live-online pricing
Individual pricing options will depend on your choice of study option and the length of your subscription; we've outlined them here based on a common 6-month course of study.
Refund and score guarantees offered
Blueprint does offer refund options and score guarantees; however, they require the setting of a baseline score through a previous test or through taking a Blueprint-proctored test. Additionally, course completion requirements determine your refund eligibility, and refund policies vary for each course, but all include baseline content completion requirements. So, before you purchase, do be sure to read the fine print on your specific course.
Good reviews, very difficult tests
Customer reviews of Blueprint are generally positive, however be warned: MCAT-dedicated study forums state that Blueprint's practice tests are insanely difficult (some admitting that Blueprint's tests have made them break down into tears). While this isn't necessarily bad, customers reported that it at times affected their self-esteem. So, if you choose Blueprint, just keep in mind that their practice tests are known to be more difficult, and don't be discouraged based on that alone.
Well designed and well worth the price
Blueprint's easily-understandable pricing options, interactive and well-designed modules, robust range of practice tests, high-quality tutors and instructors, AI-powered question banks, and customized tutoring curricula and study plans all justify their price, and have earned Blueprint the second place spot on our list! Even though their practice tests are well-known to be frustrating, Blueprint's high-quality offerings set them definitively apart from their competitors. So if a well-built and supportive MCAT test-prep is what you need, and you are willing to spend the money, Blueprint is definitely the way to go.
Wyzant is less of a test-prep company, and more of a platform to help you find tutors based on parameters you choose for price, quality, and experience. They offer tutors in hundreds of different categories.
Finding your tutor
Most test-prep companies, if they offer tutoring at all, offer the service as an expensive add-on to their test-prep packages and courses. On the other hand, since Wyzant focuses on tutoring, finding a tutor yourself through Wyzant can be an excellent, cost-efficient way to cut out some overhead and deal directly with your tutor. Here is what you can expect if you use Wyzant to find your MCAT tutor.
Intuitive user interface
As Wyzant does not technically provide tutors - merely providing a platform for tutors to promote their services - price and quality on Wyzant is highly variable. However, Wyzant provides an easily navigable search interface that makes finding a tutor within your chosen parameters a relatively easy task. With user reviews and credentials appended to each tutor, and tutors easily filtered by price and specialization, we appreciate the ease with which one can navigate Wyzant. Wyzant also offers an interactive platform through which tutoring takes place, including an interactive whiteboard, video, and notetaking functions comparable to most major tutoring services.
No contract, flexible tutoring agreements
As Wyzant lets you pay your tutor directly on an hourly basis, you do not need to agree- in advance - to high-cost tutoring packages peddling indiscriminate blocks of hours. Instead, you can work directly with your tutor to determine the time you need to make progress on your MCAT goals. We appreciate that flexibility afforded to customers and tutors alike by Wyzant, especially as the field of MCAT prep is filled with high-cost tutoring extras routed through major prep companies. To add salt to the wound, many companies overcharging you for tutoring are underpaying tutors: it is standard practice to take approximately 60-70% of a Tutor's hourly rate. Transparent payment is part of why we appreciate the contrast Wyzant provides: they let you know upfront that they only take 25% of a tutor's rate, ensuring that your tutor is well-compensated (and motivated) for the support they provide.
Good fit guarantee
We also appreciate that Wyzant offers a "good fit guarantee" . This means that - no matter the tutor - if you aren't satisfied with your first hour of instruction, you can get a full refund with no questions asked. Especially with a service that is more a message board than a centralized academy, such a refund improves our confidence in recommending Wyzant for MCAT tutoring.
A great choice for finding a tutor
While your experience will likely be variable, we think that Wyzant is one of the best out there for finding an MCAT tutor. With often lower prices than major prep companies, and the ability to deal directly with your tutor as opposed to contracting them through a major company, Wyzant is an excellent choice for those who just need a bit of accountability (or insight), and are uninterested in a full-blown live-online course or expensive self-lead prep options.
Partnering with multiple universities and school systems, Prep 101 is an MCAT prep specialist whose students (apparently) increase their score by an average of 15 points. With only live-online courses on offer, and no tutoring or self-study options, how does Prep 101 compare to their competitors?
One (expensive) course offering
Prep 101 only has one course on offer (a refreshing simplicity when compared to their multi-plan competitors). At $2,295 for a 2.5-month course, you'll get the following:
While Prep 101 does not have any of the technological bells-and-whistles of the most premium services on our list, they offer a respectable set of the needed practice materials and necessary structure one would expect from a high-cost live-online MCAT prep.
No score guarantee, restricted refunds
Prep 101 does not appear to offer any score guarantee. That being said, they offer a full refund if you withdraw at least two weeks before course start, keep a $100 deposit if you withdraw within 2 weeks prior to course start, and offer no refund once the course has started. Prep 101 does have an "Unlimited course repeat" policy. So, if you did not achieve your score but appreciated Prep 101's offerings (or just really like MCAT prep for some reason), Prep 101 has you covered with free re-enrollment.
A unique vetting process
Interestingly, all Prep 101 instructors are hired only after teaching a mock class to a group of ex-Prep 101 students, who help rate the teachers' quality. While an interesting selection process, we would prefer if they also included general MCAT score requirements as well, or at least listed the score average of their current instructors.
Excellent reviews and respectable offerings
Prep 101 has some excellent user reviews across multiple review platforms, and user reviews on MCAT-dedicated study forums trend positive. While not the absolute best on our list, and not the most budget-friendly, Prep 101's respectable offerings have earned them good marks, and we believe they are well worth your consideration if you're in the market for live-online test prep.
Kaplan has a long history of providing test prep materials and tutoring services, and if you're preparing for the MCAT you likely already know about Kaplan due to the popularity of their series of MCAT test prep books. However, Kaplan also offers independent and structured MCAT test prep courses for those needing a bit more structure. Here is how their offerings break down:
Impressive collection of MCAT prep resources
All MCAT prep courses with Kaplan include the following:
While some features (such as the headset-requiring VR app Librarium) may not be for everyone, Kaplan's premium-priced course comes with an undeniably hefty set of practice materials and support. Your individual price is going to depend on which mode of instruction you choose, and the length of your subscription.
Well supported refund policy...
Kaplan offers some refund options with their "higher score guarantee" and a "515 or +15" guarantee for their live-online and tutoring/bootcamp offers respectively. Keep in mind, however, that such services come with a critical caveat; you need to have either previously taken the MCAT or complete a proctored Kaplan MCAT to establish a baseline score; if you do not do so, you are simply not eligible for their refund policies.
...but watch the caveats
Additionally, to qualify for the refund you need to complete all requirements of the course you paid for: every class, module, quiz, and piece of homework, which client testimonies state can be difficult due to the sheer volume of material they assign. If you do happen to score higher, but not high enough to your liking, Kaplan offers to re-activate students' accounts for an additional twelve weeks. So, while the refund option might seem attractive, keep in mind there is a significant amount of work required for you to be eligible for a refund.
Self-paced, live-online, and premium study options
Kaplan offers a variety of MCAT study plans, ranging from just plain expensive to really expensive.
Generally mixed reviews
Customer reviews on Kaplan are decidedly mixed; while they have glowing reviews on major aggregate review sites, they currently have a "B-" with the Better Business Bureau, and MCAT-dedicated forums generally are inconclusive regarding Kaplan's quality. This is common with many large test prep companies, and is likely representative of their expertise in reputation management on review boards.
Overall good, heavily-structured test prep
While known for their plethora of study materials, Kaplan's individual test prep, live-online, or premium tutoring options could be an excellent way to introduce heavily structured study into your MCAT preparation. So while not especially the best across any metric, and definitely suboptimal for independent learners, Kaplan is a good choice for those seeking a highly-structured online class, or online-class-integrated MCAT tutoring.
The Princeton Review has been providing test prep services since 1981, and offers materials for almost every admissions test out there, across almost every medium: in short, they are a test prep giant. Size isn't everything, however, so let's take a look at the specifics of The Princeton Review's MCAT prep.
An overwhelming website
Before we begin, beware that The Princeton Review's site seems designed to be overwhelming. With a horrendous countdown timer at the top (that follows you everywhere), yellow-on-pink branding, and hundreds of "slashed out" prices to reveal an eternally shifting set of "deals" , the whole experience feels like it is designed to overwhelm users into a purchase, as opposed to simply informing them. Additionally, The Princeton Review makes it difficult to compare offerings between their different price plans, all of which greatly detract from our opinion of their offerings. With that out of the way, let's take a closer look at what they actually offer.
4 plans to choose from
All that said, The Princeton Review offers four MCAT plans to choose from:
A guarantee for each class on offer
The Princeton Review's courses do come with guarantees, such as their "513+" and "515+" guarantees. However, qualifying for a refund based on these guarantees (whose refund specifics vary per plan) requires the completion of every single piece of homework, every assignment, every module, and every quiz. Customer testimony on popular MCAT study forums note that completing all these requirements is almost impossible due to the sheer volume of work The Princeton Review piles on their students. And, of course, you have to establish a baseline score before you are eligible. As such, keep in mind that The Princeton Review's guarantees have some significant caveats.
Reviews are mixed
Like many other major test prep companies, reviews here are mixed. Aggregate review sites are often very positive towards The Princeton Review, but those scores are sometimes subject to manipulation. On the other hand, testimony from MCAT study boards often complain of overwhelming courses that throw tons of inefficient content at the student.
A fine product with poor advertising practices
In any case, if you can stomach the insult of a countdown timer following you through the entire experience of purchasing, then The Princeton Review offers a comparable product to other high-priced and heavily-structured test prep services, with some good (if caveat-filled) refund guarantees. And, if accountability and structure are what you're looking for, you should consider The Princeton Review as an equal contender with other similarly-priced MCAT test prep options.
With its start as a California-based ed-tech start-up in 2010, Magoosh has grown steadily into a well-respected, platform-based approach to test and college preparatory materials. Noted for its friendly office environment and ethical business practices, how do Magoosh's MCAT materials compare to their peers?
Relatively low-priced, basic offerings
Magoosh offers some reasonably priced MCAT test prep, with a no-cost 7-day trial, one month of access for $379, and twelve months of access for $399. For that price, you'll receive a customizable study plan, 380+ content review videos, 740+ questions including 3 full-length practice tests, with detailed question explanations included.
Magoosh's support is entirely email based, and they offer no office hours or one-on-one tutors. Unlike more expensive competitors that include office hours, requests on Magoosh will take 1-2 business days to respond to any inquiry. In addition, their offerings are relatively basic when compared to competitors, who offer more practice questions than Magoosh's 740+, and far more preparatory materials than databases of videos and practice tests.
A welcome score guarantee
All that being said, Magoosh's 10+ point guarantee is a welcome assurance of the quality of their test prep: if you don't improve your score by ten points, you can request a refund or renewal of your plan. However, as with similar guarantees, you must verify a baseline score before you are eligible for the refund, so keep that in mind before beginning your MCAT test prep on Magoosh.
Reasonable but not robust MCAT prep
While Magoosh's prices are eminently reasonable, their offerings are decidedly bare-bones when compared to competitors. With no question banks, no interactive lessons, and no live support, we think Magoosh is a reasonable option if all you need are sample tests and questions. However, for most students looking for a supported test prep option with robust offerings, there are likely better options on our list.
Varsity Tutors specializes in almost all forms of tutoring: whether college, K-12, or practically any test or certification, they will likely have a tutor for you. With that in mind, what do they offer specifically for their MCAT students?
Varsity Tutors may have varying prices based on your location or other metrics, as they do not publicly show their pricing. However, we found that they generally charge $199 per month for two hours of weekly tutoring, and $349 per month for 4 hours of weekly tutoring. Tutoring takes place through an integrated video/note-taking/lesson application, which you gain access to by purchasing a monthly subscription.
Live-online classes available
Varsity Tutors also offers live-online classes for $269 per month on a 5-week or 10-week plan. Each class meets twice a week for two-hour sessions. However, Varsity Tutors does not detail the credentials of their instructors, or any of the specific materials or methods utilized in creating or running the class, though they do state that classes are personalized to the needs of the student.
Ongoing subscriptions, prices available only by phone
While their tutoring prices seem relatively par-for-the-course, we don't appreciate that they hide their prices behind a phone call in which you are subject to a sales pitch by someone trying to close a deal. Additionally, Varsity Tutors bills their services as an ongoing subscription that grants access to their learning platform and associated tutors, meaning you have to actively cancel the service. While Varsity Tutors offers a wide range of expert MCAT tutors, and works to pair you with an ideal tutor, they do not detail any of their MCAT preparatory materials, and the user interface to search for tutors is rather clunky. In short, there are a lot of inconveniences around navigating Varsity Tutors.
An excellent refund and guarantee policy
While we take umbrage with Varsity Tutors' opaque pricing, we thoroughly appreciate their extensive guarantee policy. If you don't score above a previously set baseline after tutoring, Varsity Tutors will provide a refund if you are unsatisfied with your MCAT score. If you did not set a baseline score and are unsatisfied with your MCAT, Varsity Tutors will enroll you in their live-online class for free. Finally, if you are unsatisfied with your tutor after your first session, Varsity Tutors will connect you with a new tutor, with whom the first two hours of instruction are free. In short, Varsity Tutors has some of the best refund/guarantee policies on our list.
Great reviews (but not for MCAT tutoring)
Varsity Tutors generally has excellent reviews from customers; however, these reviews are primarily from K-12 students and say little about their MCAT test prep. In sum, Varsity Tutors will likely connect you with a good tutor, as they have hundreds of qualified MCAT tutors in their employ. In addition, their refund policy is top-notch, and includes their live-online course offerings. However, Varsity Tutors offers little information on the specifics of their live-online class, has a poor user interface, and hides tutoring prices behind a phone call: all of which leave a bad taste in our mouth, and lower their ranking on our list when compared to similar MCAT test prep services.
Peterson's is a large test prep company that offers preparatory courses for almost any certification test you can think of; however, it seems their primary market (and primary reviewers) tends to be military/ex-military preparing to test for college credits. So, with a generalized focus, how does Peterson's hold up to their test-prep competitors?
Slim MCAT offerings
While Peterson's may be well established in college prep and materials for other tests, their MCAT materials are decidedly slim, with their only meaningful offering being mobile-integrated practice tests. Peterson's does not provide information as to the type of prep their mobile integration offers, other than that it includes 3 practice exams and 700 sample questions, and mobile integration.
Pricing based on subscription
While all packages include the offerings listed above, your price point (and extras) are determined by the length of your subscription. A one-month subscription costs $49, their 3-month subscription costs $45 per month and includes 90 minutes of one-on-one tutoring, and Peterson's 12-month subscription costs $39 per month and includes 270 minutes of online tutoring. While additional tutoring is offered for a premium, Peterson's does not list the credentials of their MCAT tutors - one of the reasons why we think there are better tutoring options out there.
No refunds, mixed reviews
Peterson's does not offer any score guarantees or refunds for their services, and their subscription service auto-renews until you specifically cancel it. Customer reviews of Peterson's MCAT test prep taken from MCAT study boards are generally mixed; those who have taken Peterson's are generally military, and complain that the practice tests are not necessarily representative of the MCAT.
Budget price but not a good buy
While a budget MCAT prep program is always a welcome sight, considering the high prices common in the field, Peterson's offerings simply aren't good enough to recommend, and we do not appreciate their auto-renewing subscription and lack of refund options. If you need a budget MCAT service, we recommend you try similarly-priced preparatory materials that have earned a higher score on our list, as Peterson's is simply outclassed in terms of quality.
As the name suggests, MCAT Prep specializes in MCAT prep (though it is technically a branch of Ruveneco). MCAT Prep's materials are sold at a lower price than their competitors, so what will you get with their budget offerings?
While MCAT prep is certainly in the name, MCAT Prep's resources tend to be subpar when compared to competitors. They offer 3 courses to choose from, plus a separate package of practice tests.
Poor value on higher-priced plans
When compared to competitors, MCAT Prep's offerings are decidedly poor; all of their increased-price packages only offer variations of more practice tests, with little compelling evidence as to why the greater price would be worth it. It is especially insulting that their $799 offering includes a "30-minute meeting with an MD" , with no discussion as to this MD's expertise or MCAT qualifications.
Lack of good refund policy
To add to this, MCAT Prep does not have any meaningful refund policy: all billing after the initial 30 days is non-refundable, and all purchases are final. Additionally, MCAT Prep's website is poorly designed, and still includes links to now-defunct offerings such as their "Platinum" course; if they can't be bothered to update their website, why should we have confidence in the ultimate quality of their product?
Few to no customer reviews
Due to MCAT Prep's heavily SEO-filtered name, and the small size of the company, it is impossible to find user reviews of MCAT Prep other than those the website has solicited and appended to their front page. As such, it is difficult to assess customer experience with MCAT Prep.
Outdated and not recommended
In sum, MCAT Prep just doesn't impress us, as their outdated website only offers variations of e-books, videos, and practice tests. If you are looking for a budget MCAT service or something more robust, then there are reams of better offerings. In short, while MCAT Prep does indeed offer MCAT prep, it is likely not anything you will be satisfied with.
The MCAT is designed to assess a wide range of skills and knowledge crucial for success in medical education and practice. Beyond evaluating factual knowledge, the test looks at critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills. These qualities are indispensable for medical professionals who must navigate complex medical cases, make timely decisions, and adapt to rapidly evolving medical advancements.
The MCAT also mirrors the evolving demands of the medical field. Medicine is becoming increasingly integrated and patient-centered, requiring professionals to understand not only the scientific aspects of health but also the socio-cultural and ethical dimensions. The MCAT's inclusion of sections that assess psychological, social, and ethical concepts acknowledges the need for physicians who are empathetic, culturally competent, and capable of delivering holistic care.
While far from perfect, the MCAT provides a benchmark for comparing applicants from diverse educational backgrounds, ensuring that medical schools admit students who possess the foundational knowledge required for their rigorous curricula. By incorporating an emphasis on natural sciences, critical analysis, and reasoning, the MCAT tries to ensure that candidates are well-rounded and equipped to tackle the interdisciplinary nature of modern healthcare. This uniform evaluation method helps institutions make informed and fair decisions when considering a large pool of candidates.
Before you start browsing our curated list of MCAT preparatory services, we have a few tips that might serve you well as you do your due diligence:
Here at Top Consumer Reviews we have done our due diligence to make your MCAT test preparations less strenuous (and, hopefully, less expensive). With a bit of elbow grease and determination, you will be able to improve your score. So take a deep breath, and start preparing with our curated list of the top MCAT test prep available today.
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