For some pre-medical students, the MCAT is a standard summer marathon. You spend three months doing nothing except studying for the MCAT. This may sound intense but some students choose to bury themselves further in their studies by doing an MCAT bootcamp. These programs are typically run by test preparation companies and are considered the most thorough of the commercial MCAT preparation products. Each company has their own name for their programs but they all involve students immersing themselves in their MCAT studies for the summer. Two of the most popular programs are the Princeton Review’s Summer Immersion and Kaplan’s Summer Intensive. In this post, we will discuss how to decide if an MCAT bootcamp is right for you.
MCAT Bootcamp: Factors to Consider
- Time. First, you must decide if you have time in your busy schedule to give up an entire summer to focus on the MCAT. If you have to take summer classes or are traveling over the summer, the MCAT bootcamp might not work with your schedule.
- Opportunity Costs. If you do have time, you next have to decide if it is worth it. Summers are valuable to pre-medical students. It is your chance to get additional clinical, research, volunteer, or other experiences to strengthen your medical school application. If your resume is lacking, an MCAT bootcamp may not be the best choice.
- Money. MCAT bootcamps are not cheap and most costs thousands of dollars. That is a quite a lot of money for many pre-medical students.
- Personal Motivation. Are you the type of student that cannot make yourself study or don’t know how to create an effective study plan? If so, an MCAT bootcamp may be what you need. These programs provide an entire MCAT study plan for you, created by MCAT experts.
- MCAT = Life. Are you will to do nothing but MCAT for the whole summer? People that want to put in their 100% effort and focus into the exam should consider an MCAT bootcamp. On the other hand, if you know that you would go crazy if MCAT is all you do for three months, it may not be as good of an idea.
- MCAT Experts. As the most intense programs offered by test prep companies, MCAT bootcamps are taught by true MCAT experts. These are instructors with a proven track record to get students the top scores. If you want the best instruction possible, MCAT bootcamps are the way to go.
Alternatives to MCAT Bootcamps
If you decide that an MCAT bootcamp is not for you, that’s okay. There are thousands of students that get great scores without participating in one of these programs. You have many options. Motivated students can certainly self-study for the exam. Magoosh offers online MCAT prep that can help you prepare for every section of the MCAT. They have over 300 video lessons, over 700 practice questions, and you get unlimited email access to tutors. If you would prefer in-person instruction, you can take a regular classroom course or get private tutoring from another test prep company.
Hopefully you now have a better idea of whether or not an MCAT bootcamp is right for you. Regardless of how you choose your mode of study, you will want to make sure to avoid the Biggest Study Mistakes on the MCAT.