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The Princeton Review Review

Friday, February 23rd

2024 MCAT Test Prep Course Reviews

The Princeton Review Review 3.5 Star Rating

The Princeton Review

3.5 Star Rating
  • Self-paced prep at $1,699
  • $2,099 for live-online course
  • "MCAT 513+" intensive course for $3,099
  • "515+" summer immersion course for $6,449
  • Self-paced study at $1,669
  • Private tutoring at $183/hour
  • Qbank sold separately at $149

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:

  • The Princeton Review's self-paced prep costs $1,699 for a year of access, and includes access to 16 full length practice tests (official AAMC material included), 500+ preparatory videos through "Medflix" , 11 preparatory books, 90 hours of live and pre-recorded topic-specific preparatory sessions, live Q&A sessions and unlimited 1-hour office hours.
  • The Princeton Review's live-online course costs $2,099 and includes 40 hours of live classes, unlimited access to live topic-specific workshops, four to six subject matter experts, and everything in the self-paced prep offering.
  • The more intensive (and expensive) MCAT 513+ option costs $3,099, includes 139 hours of live instruction, one-on-one meetings with "expert study advisors", 4 exclusive "MCAT 513+" prep books, and medical school admissions advantage sessions.
  • The Princeton Review's most expensive option at $6,449 is their 515+ Summer Immersion session, which includes 860+ hours of instruction, practice, and support; a one-on-one personalized study advisor; unlimited 24/7 on-demand tutoring; 16 full-length practice tests; office hours; and everything included in previous plans.
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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.

What's the Best Online MCAT Prep on the Market?

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.

The Best MCAT Test Prep Courses Compare MCAT Test Prep Courses Compare MCAT Test Prep Course Reviews What are the best MCAT Test Prep Courses Best MCAT Test Prep Course Reviews

MCAT Test Prep Course FAQ

MCAT is short for "Medical College Admission Test". If you're looking to become a doctor, you'll need a competitive score on this test to get into the med school of your choice. The test is 7 hours and 30 minutes long, and it evaluates your skills in the areas of problem-solving, critical thinking, scientific concepts and more.
That depends on where you take the exam. In the United States, expect to pay $320. Prices can go up from year to year too.
Not only is the test expensive, but you're limited to how many times you can take it: three times in a single testing year, four times in two consecutive years, and seven attempts total over your lifetime. Plus, you might have to delay your entry into med school if you don't get a good score in time for admissions. A test prep program can help you get the best score possible the first time you take it, or improve your score right away if you didn't do well on your first attempt.
Some MCAT test prep providers will refund your money if your score doesn't improve by a certain number of points or if you don't get at or above a particular minimum score. To be eligible for those guarantees, you'll usually have to provide proof that you completed their entire prep program, as well as your before-and-after scores.
That depends on the type of MCAT test prep you select. Obviously if you choose anything with a live feature (e.g. tutoring, face-to-face classes, and so on), you'll be constrained to those scheduled times. But, the majority of MCAT test prep materials are designed to be used at your convenience, since you'll likely be fitting in your studies around school and work.
Whichever you prefer. If you live in a metropolitan area, you're more likely to find options for in-person classes and face-to-face tutoring, but even if you can only attend virtual lessons there are programs that offer them. Alternately, if you don't have the time for (or interest in) live test prep, you'll have many choices among 100% online platforms that let you study when and where you wish.
It's a wide spectrum: from $10 for a single practice test to $6499 for a summer intensive or bootcamp experience. Fortunately, there are several MCAT test prep options that give you ample practice questions, instructional videos, and full practice exams for under $500.
Start by thinking about your ideal learning environment: is it face-to-face with a skilled instructor, or is it on a tablet or mobile device while you commute to and from work or school? Decide which of those delivery methods is the best fit for you, and choose a program with that structure that fits your budget. Finally, it's always a good idea to see what other students have said about the MCAT test prep you're considering, to ensure that it's truly helping people prepare for - and score well on - the exam.
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Continued from above...

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:

  • Time: First, do you have enough for a class, and second, how well can you manage your schedule? Be honest with yourself about your ability and availability, and choose a self-paced or live-online class accordingly.
  • Money: MCAT test prep is just plain expensive, even more so if you choose to take a class. As such, be strategic about which prep you choose based on your needs: a well-made self-paced prep package could net you higher scores than a mid-tier, ineffective classroom.
  • Score Guarantees: Many services come with various refunds and "score guarantees" , but contain caveats around them. Whether you have to establish a baseline score, or complete all provided coursework, be sure to check the parameters of their guarantee before you buy the service.

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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