In this week’s episode, we talk all about MCAT prep courses. Do you really need to take an MCAT prep course or can you just self-study? What are the main factors to take into consideration when you’re deciding?
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
Not Everyone Needs an MCAT Prep Course
Some people will be able to self-study for the MCAT just fine. In that case, no, you don’t need a full MCAT prep course. But you can’t know until you get started.
To figure out whether or not a course makes sense to you, the first thing to do is to take a diagnostic MCAT test. Luckily, Next Step offers an MCAT diagnostic test for free. (They also include the diagnostic and full-length practice test for free if you sign up for one of their courses.)
Bottom Line: Find a way to take an actual diagnostic test and see where you’re starting from.
[Related episode: MCAT Prep on Any Budget (Should I Spend $3,000?).]
Can You Raise Your Score Enough with Self-Study?
If you’re naturally good at standardized tests and you only need to bring your score up a few points from your diagnostic, then you don’t need a course. In that case, you can just self-study.If you're naturally good at standardized tests and you only need to bring your score up a few points from your diagnostic, you don't need an MCAT course.Click To Tweet
If you really think you’re going to need more help, then decide whether you want to start out by self-studying or if you want to go directly to a course.
Self-study Options to Consider Before Buying an MCAT Course
- Go to the free Khan Academy MCAT videos.
- Pick up a set of MCAT prep books.
- Spend a month prepping on your own and see what kind of progress you can make.
- Then if it’s not coming together, consider going for a more in-depth prep product like a prep course or one-on-one tutoring.
- Here is my video review of Next Step’s MCAT course (with a promo code). I think it’s the best MCAT prep course available, and I explain why in the video.
- One-on-one tutoring, another option to consider, has the advantage of tailoring the education specifically to your problem areas and focusing on you as a student.
A prep course is a big commitment in terms of time and money. So it’s okay to try to dip your toes into self-studying first before jumping entirely into getting courses or tutoring.One-on-one tutoring has the advantage of tailoring the education specifically to your problem areas and focusing on you as a student. Click To Tweet
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my book about the MCAT, co-written with Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep): The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT.
- Related episode: Which MCAT Prep Materials Are Best for Me?
- Related episode: How to Best Use Flashcards to Study for the MCAT.
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” for 10% off Next Step full-length practice tests or “MSHQTOC” for $50 off MCAT tutoring or the Next Step MCAT Course at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!