The MCAT is an extremely important part of the medical school application process. As we’ve discussed in “What is a good MCAT score?” and “MCAT Scores For Top Medical Schools,” a strong MCAT score can help applicants get into the medical school of their dreams. When facing the daunting task of studying for the MCAT, a common question applicants ask is, “should I take an MCAT class?”
What is available and how much does it cost?
There are many types of test prep classes available that range from books and self-learning to online courses to full classroom courses to private tutoring. Kaplan offers four different types of MCAT preparation courses, which range from $1999 to $3999 at full price. Princeton Review offers four options for MCAT prep and a workshop as well. The price ranges from $499 to $9,499. Khan Academy offers a free online resource. (See “Best Free Online MCAT Study Resources” for more free resource listings.)
So should I take an MCAT class?
The answer really depends on a variety of factors. An MCAT class can be a wonderful way to get the best MCAT score you can, or it can be a waste of time and money. An important first step in deciding whether or not to take an MCAT class is an assessment of where you are now, what your goals are, and what your timeline for starting medical school is. If you’re just starting in college, or even in high school now, taking an MCAT class would be too early to be helpful and probably too advanced for the coursework you have taken. MCAT classes generally tend to help those who have a definite timeline and probably a test date in mind. That way, you have the benefits of the class and teaching right before writing the exam. If you have been doing poorly in practice exams or have already tested poorly in the MCAT, a prep course might help you boost your score. Often, test preparation courses have a guarantee for increasing your score a certain amount or your money back.
Perhaps the best way to assess whether or not you should take an MCAT class is knowing what your learning style is. If you are able to sit down and study well on your own, preparing for the MCAT can certainly be done without a class. If you need the schedule and rigors of an official class to help get the best out of you, then a class might be worth the time and investment. Remember that both the time and money for taking an MCAT class are not insignificant, but making an educated decision about whether or not to take an MCAT class can maximize your returns.