When you search for the “MCAT best course online,” you get plenty of results. What you have to figure out is which among those results represent the best MCAT prep courses.
If you’re getting ready for the MCAT, you already have enough on your plate. To help you quickly find the best MCAT prep courses, we’ve ranked twelve options.
Each of the courses in our rankings has been scored according to three measures:
- Learning Experience
We’ve ranked each course on these measures to give you a snapshot of how the course stacks up against the competition.
Disclaimer: Some courses may include an affiliate link. Courses were chosen first based on the methodology with affiliate links only added after the ranking was complete.
Additionally, using a three-factor method gives us a broader picture to present to you. You’ll know more about each course and whether it fits your needs by viewing individual scores for each factor as well as an overall score for the course.
What’s so great about using online MCAT prep courses is that they offer much in the way of study resources. Each of the courses listed in our rankings makes accessing those materials quite easy.
Furthermore, these courses provide students with diverse learning experiences. This allows you to tailor your MCAT preparation to the type of learner you are.
As you’ll see in the rankings, some of the best MCAT prep courses are quite expensive. However, there are some more budget-friendly options if money is tight.
Before we get to the rankings, let’s examine our three-factor methodology in more detail.
Methodology to Determine the Best Online Courses for MCAT Prep
As noted above, the scoring system we created is meant to give you a comprehensive look at each course. So, rather than focusing on a single factor, like how much a course costs, you can get a feel for what else the course offers in terms of accessibility and learning experience.
After all, the purpose of researching the best MCAT prep courses is to find the one that aligns with your budget and your learning needs.
By considering both the overall score for each course and its individual scores, you should be able to clearly define which courses are at the top of your list.
Below is a deeper discussion of each of these three factors.
Medical school is not cheap. Traditional college isn’t cheap either. If you want to minimize how much you pay for MCAT test prep, no one will blame you!
But, there’s no denying that some MCAT test prep courses are expensive. You could easily pay upwards of $1,500 for a course. The good news is that there are more affordable options. This includes some free prep materials you can find on the internet.
Since most students place the most importance on affordability, it is worth the most points in our rankings. The point breakdown is as follows:
- Free: 6 points
- Under $500: 5 points
- $501-$1,000: 4 points
- $1,001-$1,500: 3 points
- $1,501-$2,000: 2 points
- $2,000 and above: 1 point
As important as affordability is, it shouldn’t be the only factor that’s considered. Instead, accessibility and learning experience are valuable features to think about.
The best MCAT prep courses online make it simple and easy for you to take part in the class. You should be able to login any time of day, any day of the year, and be able to study.
What’s more, online courses for MCAT prep should give you different options for accessing the material. Some courses are completely online. Others expand accessibility to include in-person teaching. Still others have mobile apps for studying on the go and books for studying offline.
We take these kinds of options into consideration when assessing a course’s accessibility score. This factor is scored as follows:
- High accessibility: 2 points
- Moderate accessibility: 1 points
- Low accessibility: 0 points
Each person learns a little different. Therefore, it’s necessary to rate these courses on their ability to provide you the learning experience you need.
Some of the best MCAT prep courses can be customized to your unique needs. This helps boost a course’s learning experience score. Likewise, some courses offer video instruction to supplement your studying. Again, this serves to increase the score.
There are other tools that can boost a course’s learning experience score as well. This includes the number of practice questions, the number of practice tests, and the type of support options.
Some MCAT prep courses even offer guarantees. For example, in some cases, if you retake the MCAT and don’t get a higher score, you could get your money back for the MCAT prep course you used to study.
These and other factors go into scoring the learning experience as follows:
- Excellent learning experience: 2 points
- Average learning experience: 1 point
- Below average learning experience: 0 points
Ranking the Best Online Courses for MCAT Prep
#10: Altius MCAT Test Prep Bronze
This MCAT test prep course by Altius is designed for motivated, self-starting students. It is a self-paced and self-guided course.
The course comes with many features to assist you in your learning. This includes over 100 hours of live instruction. Up to 25 hours of small-group tutoring is also available.
Also included in the course is:
- 10 study hall sessions
- 32 problem-based group sessions
- 4 MCAT practice tests
Altius also offers a 14-day free trial. If you aren’t satisfied, you can get your money back.
Affordability: $2,399 (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: Moderate accessibility. This online course is accessible any time of day or night. It is only available online, though. There are no offline study materials or in-person learning options.
Learning Experience: Average. This course is designed around problem-based learning. Learning takes place in an online classroom environment. Small-group tutoring is included as well. There are no private tutoring options. There is also no score guarantee.
#9: Dr. Flowers MCAT 16-Week Prep Course
This is one of the most affordable MCAT prep courses in our rankings. It covers nearly 350 concepts and offers more than 4,000 practice questions to help you prepare for the MCAT.
If you are a visual learner, this might be a good option for you. All content in this top MCAT prep course is presented in textual form. There are no video tutorials.
Content areas include:
- Verbal reasoning
- Test-taking skills
This course also comes with a study planner to keep you on track. There are flash cards and review questions to help you direct your studies. There are also explanations of complex formulas to help simplify some of the more difficult concepts.
This 16-week course comes with a score guarantee. If you don’t score 508 or above, you get an extension of the course to continue studying.
Affordability: $539 (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: Moderate accessibility. You can access this course any time of day online. The course is only online, though. There are no books or other offline materials available. There are no in-person study options either.
Learning Experience: Below average. There are more than 4,000 practice questions. You can track your progress using a personal dashboard. The “Ask Dr. Flowers Service” allows you to consult with an MCAT expert with questions you have. There is also a success guarantee. However, there are no books. There are no practice tests. There are no analytics to help you target your weaknesses. The subscription is also quite short at just four months.
#8: Princeton Review MCAT Test Prep
Princeton Review has an excellent reputation for test prep. Their MCAT prep course is no exception.
This course is their MCAT 510+ option. It comes with a guarantee that you will score at least 510 on the MCAT. If you don’t, you get a refund. To date, Princeton Review has had to issue a refund to less than two percent of purchasers.
One of the best features of this course is the full-length practice tests. There are 16 of them in total to give you many different looks at what might be on the MCAT.
Other features include:
- 11 MCAT study books
- Thousands of practice questions
- Access to subject matter experts
- Interactive score reports
This course also includes access to medical school admissions advantage sessions. These sessions are designed to provide you with tips to beat the typical 42 percent acceptance rate at most medical schools.
Affordability: $2,899 (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: High accessibility. This course includes both online and offline instructional materials. This enables you to learn in-person, online, or at home using printed study materials.
Learning Experience: Excellent. This course includes more than 120 hours of in-person or live online instruction. There are thousands of practice questions. You get access to 16 practice tests as well. There is also a 1:1 expert study manager to help you focus your studies.
#7: Kaplan DIY MCAT Prep Plus
Kaplan is one of the best-known names in study prep. Their DIY MCAT Prep Plus course gives you access to a robust collection of study materials that allows you to prepare for the MCAT at your own pace.
Though Kaplan provides you with guidance for your studies, you control what you study and when. To help you in your studies, Kaplan offers many different resources, including:
- A question bank with nearly 3,000 questions
- Live lessons six days a week on the MCAT Channel
- On-demand lessons
- Nearly 100 hours of recorded video lessons
This course also includes an MCAT Biochemistry audio review and med school admissions advice. You get a score guarantee too. If you don’t score higher, you can get your money back.
Affordability: $2,299 (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: High accessibility. You can access the course online at any time. There is a seven-book MCAT study set included for offline learning as well. You also get three hours of one-on-one tutoring for an additional means of accessing content.
Learning Experience: Excellent. This course offers nearly 100 hours of live and recorded lessons. There are 16 full-length practice tests as well. Brush up on basic science content using the course’s 130 interactive videos. One-on-one tutoring and med school admissions help further round out the learning experience.
#6: Blueprint MCAT Online Test Prep
Blueprint’s online MCAT test prep was designed specifically for online instruction. The curriculum is both time-efficient and personalized to your specific needs. In fact, you can test out of certain areas so your time is focused on areas that need improvement.
The MCAT prep course includes more than 160 individual learning modules. These modules integrate content, study strategies, and quizzes to aid in the retention of the material.
The study videos that come with this course are highly engaging as well. They include illustrations to highlight complex processes that make the study experience more engaging.
Other features of this MCAT prep course include:
- Advanced analytics to help you identify weaknesses
- Mobile-friendly format for studying on the go
- Instructors that scored in the 99th percentile on the MCAT
- Unlimited access to MCAT experts five days a week
This course also offers highly personalized study plans. You tell Blueprint when you want to take the MCAT, when you want to study, and they will design a study plan that will help you get ready for the test.
Affordability: $1,799 (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: Moderate accessibility. You can learn online 24/7. Books are included with the course for offline learning as well. There are no in-person learning options, which reduces the accessibility score.
Learning Experience: Excellent. Blueprint offers more than 10,000 practice questions. This includes over 120 practice passages. There are 15 practice exams and a customizable study planner as well. This course also comes with a score increase guarantee.
#5: Magoosh MCAT Test Prep
The Magoosh MCAT test prep is certainly one of the most affordable on this list. This makes it very attractive for budget-minded students.
This top MCAT prep course includes comprehensive study materials that focus on high-yield topics. There are three full-length practice tests and over 700 practice questions that help you get familiar with the MCAT.
If you are a motivated student, this course might be a good fit. It allows you the freedom to study when you want and at your own pace.
Highlights of this course include:
- Day-by-day study planner
- Over 380 content review videos
- MCAT tutor support from top-scoring test-takers
- Free study options for students that can’t afford the course
This course has a 10-point improvement guarantee. If your score doesn’t improve from your prior testing experience, you could be eligible for a full refund.
Affordability: $279 (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: Moderate accessibility. This course is offered online for ease of access. There are no in-person study options. There are no printed books included either.
Learning Experience: Below average. Magoosh has the smallest set of practice questions. It also has the smallest set of practice exams. There are no books and no analytics to help you target your studies, either. However, there are customizable study schedules to enhance your studies. You get access to nearly 400 review videos as well. There is 24/7 access to MCAT tutors too.
#4: Peterson’s MCAT Practice Tests Plus+
This course is one of the most affordable on this list. It is a narrowly-focused course as well. Meaning, there is no content review. Instead, this course only includes three MCAT practice tests.
The purpose of this course is to help you get familiar with the structure and layout of the MCAT. Each of the three practice tests are full-length. This not only helps you get comfortable with the length of the test, but it also exposes you to the array of questions you might encounter.
Features of this course include:
- Detailed explanations for each question
- Learn at your own pace
- Test results are presented by sub-content level
- Dynamic delivery options for mobile, tablet, or computer
This course is best for students that are already comfortable with the content of the MCAT. If you need practice with test-taking skills and pacing for the MCAT, this is a good option.
Affordability: $234 (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: Moderate accessibility. This course is offered online and can be accessed at any time. In-person learning is not offered. There are no offline learning materials either.
Learning Experience: Average. This course is easy to navigate and well organized. There are three full-length practice tests. These tests include detailed answers and explanations for every question. However, there are no lessons. There are no review videos. This is not a topical course. Instead, it is designed simply for familiarizing you with the MCAT test format.
#3: Varsity Tutors MCAT Practice Tests
Like the Peterson’s course discussed earlier, this Varsity Tutors MCAT course includes only practice tests. Fortunately, there are a lot of practice tests in this class.
You get access to more than two-dozen diagnostic tests. These tests are intended to help you gauge your understanding of critical academic concepts.
There are also hundreds of MCAT practice tests. These tests are organized by subject:
- Social and behavioral sciences
These practice tests are identified by their difficulty level. Each test also indicates the average time students take for each test.
Affordability: Free (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: Moderate accessibility. Easily access practice tests online via a smartphone app, tablet, or computer. In-person learning is not offered, though one-on-one tutoring is available for a fee. There are no offline learning materials either.
Learning Experience: Average. The course is organized well by topic. Practice tests are also grouped by topic for easy navigation. There are more than 20 MCAT diagnostic tests. There are also more than 800 practice tests. This course includes only practice tests. There are no lessons. There are no lectures or video tutorials.
#2: MCAT Self Prep
This free course offers a good option for students that need a narrow-focused and basic study guide. The course is divided into multiple learning modules that make it easier to navigate the study materials.
This MCAT prep is a video-heavy course. It includes more than 300 hours of video instruction. The instruction is based on the actual practice questions that are written by the MCAT writers.
Other features include:
- MCAT study tips
- MCAT questions of the day
- MCAT Launchpad, an introduction to six keys for doing well on the MCAT
- MCAT Bootcamp, an in-depth review to complete in the month before the MCAT
If this free option doesn’t quite fit your needs, there is an opportunity to upgrade to Advanced Pro or Deluxe Pro options for a nominal fee.
Affordability: Free (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: Moderate accessibility. This course is online and available to study 24/7. There are no printed study materials. There are no in-person options either.
Learning Experience: Average. This course offers structured learning modules that are easy to follow. The course is also customizable to your specific needs. There is a Facebook support group and you can get direct assistance from the company CEO. There are just 10 learning modules, however. There are no analytics to guide your studying, either.
#1: Khan Academy MCAT Test Prep
This free online course from Khan Academy ranks as the best MCAT prep course. It was developed in partnership with the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). The content in the course is available on-demand. There are readings and videos, as well as practice questions to direct your studies.
The study materials from Khan academy can be accessed on any internet-enabled device. This includes on the Khan Academy website and the Khan Academy app for on-the-go learning. The progress you make is tracked across all devices as well.
This is a content review course. It is intended for students that already have a good grasp on the MCAT content. This includes topics such as:
- Organ systems
- Chemical processes
- Human behavior
The video tutorials feature an electronic blackboard. The instructor is able to use this to show explanations for critical concepts. This can be highly beneficial for learners.
It should be noted that this course is best paired with an in-depth MCAT prep course. You will likely need a detailed course to provide in-depth practice questions and practice tests.
Affordability: Free (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: Moderate accessibility. You can access this course anytime online. Study materials are organized by subject for easier access. There are no books or in-person study options.
Learning Experience: Average. The learning materials are highly organized. This enables quick and easy review of the material. The content is AAMC approved, so concepts are directly related to the MCAT. However, there are no analytics to help identify weak areas. There are no practice tests. There is no score guarantee, either.
Frequently Asked Questions
What MCAT prep books are best?
There are a number of excellent MCAT prep books you might use for your studies. This includes, but is not limited to:
The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam, 5th Edition – This is the only MCAT prep book that is written by the authors of the MCAT. This book doesn’t have as many practice questions as other books. However, it is packed with advice about the exam. This includes how the exam is graded. It also includes advice for preparing for the exam.
Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review – This prep book includes seven individual books. There are three full-length practice tests. You also get access to thousands of practice questions. It is a good complement to the Official Guide discussed above.
Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review – This test prep course also has seven books. Each book is updated to reflect the latest topics on the MCAT. This MCAT prep book gets high marks for its intuitive layout. It also includes study tips, three full-length practice tests, and detailed subject reviews.
Test Prep Books MCAT Prep Books 2021-2022 – This is a comprehensive study guide. It is updated with new study materials for the latest version of the MCAT. The books offer insights into test-taking strategies as well as detailed explanations for sample test questions.
What are the best MCAT prep courses?
If you search “MCAT best course online,” you’ll get a ton of results. Of course, not all of the results you get in your search will be high-quality MCAT prep courses. This means you need to cut through the noise to find the best MCAT prep courses.
Consulting lists like this one is a great first step. As discussed in the methods section of this article, we take the time to evaluate MCAT prep courses. Not only does this give you detailed information about each course, but it also allows you to quickly compare courses to narrow your choices down.
It’s important to do further research, though. Not everyone will find that the same courses are equally as good. Your personal learning style will impact which MCAT prep course is right for you. So will your budget, time constraints, and the specific topics you need help reviewing.
In the end, we felt that the best MCAT prep courses offer a good mix of the criteria in our methodology. This includes affordability, accessibility, and learning experience. If need be, consult our rankings again. Narrow the field of possible courses to two or three. Then dive deep in a comparison between them. This will allow you to select the right course for you without ever having to do another “MCAT best course online” search again!
Is MCAT prep worth it?
Absolutely, with some caveats.
There are many excellent MCAT prep courses that will help you study. Those listed in our rankings are good examples. So too are the MCAT prep books listed in the first question and answer above.
But all these resources still require hard work. They require patience. They require repeated studying over a long period of time too. So, a lot of the success of your MCAT preparations depends on the effort you put forth.
It also depends on selecting the right resources to help you study. Some of the best MCAT prep courses include a wide range of resources to help you study. For example, you can find courses with sample questions, practice tests, and even advice about how to take the exam.
Some resources are geared towards visual learners. Others are ideal for auditory learners. Some online MCAT prep courses offer live instruction. Others are self-paced. MCAT prep courses and books are organized differently as well. This means that you’ll need to explore the different resources available to find the ones that best fit your learning style.
Budget is something to consider as well. MCAT prep materials range widely in price. You might have your eye on a comprehensive MCAT prep course, but if you don’t have the money to pay for it, it doesn’t do you much good!
Then again, don’t discount free MCAT prep resources, either. Just because they’re free doesn’t mean they don’t offer a wealth of help in preparing you for the exam. But like paid courses, you need to thoroughly vet any free courses you’re considering to ensure they offer legitimate help.
These are important steps to take because the MCAT is such a large test. Doing MCAT prep will help you understand the content as well as the structure of the test. MCAT prep will also give you greater confidence going into the test. It will help you reinforce what you know, help you identify what you don’t know, and will help you fill in those blanks so you’re as prepared as possible to take the test.
How long does it take to prepare for the MCAT?
The time it takes you to prepare for the MCAT depends on a lot of factors.
First, the time you have available for studying will determine your overall time commitment. If you work full-time, you’ll need to spread out your studying over a much longer time period than someone that is focused entirely on school and studying for the test.
Second, your confidence level in science will influence how much time is needed to study. If you have a solid background in biology, chemistry, psychology, and other physical and social sciences, you might not need as much time to study. Then again, if you have weaknesses in one or more of these areas, more study time certainly won’t hurt.
Third, think about the score you need to achieve. Some medical schools have a lower score threshold for admission than others. Though a few points may not sound like a lot, it could mean a significant difference in how much studying you have to do.
Fourth, what do the results of practice MCAT tests tell you? If you’ve done well, then you might not need much more studying. But if you’re struggling, you’ll need to invest more time to get the kinks ironed out before you take the MCAT.
In other words, how long it takes to prepare for the MCAT depends on each individual that takes it. Remember, you can retake the MCAT up to three times a year. This is capped at seven tries in one’s lifetime. Since the test is so long, it’s likely best to spend more time practicing now as opposed to having to continue studying and take the test multiple times.
How long is the MCAT?
The MCAT test itself is 6 hours, 15 minutes long. Factoring in breaks, the total seat time extends to around 7.5 hours. The entire test is taken in one very long day.
The test begins with an 8-minute examinee agreement. That is followed by an optional 10-minute tutorial. The first questions are in the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section. This section is 59 questions. It is restricted to 95 minutes.
After the first section of questions, there is an optional 10-minute break. The second set of questions is on Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. This section is 90 minutes in length and has 53 questions.
At this point, there is an optional mid-exam break that lasts 30 minutes. Following the break is a 95-minute section on Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems. This section has 59 questions.
There is another optional 10-minute break before the fourth and final set of questions. This fourth section is on Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior. There are 59 questions. There is a 95-minute time limit.
Following this last section of questions, there is a 5-minute period to void questions. The testing period ends with an optional 5-minute satisfaction survey.
What kind of questions are on the MCAT?
The MCAT includes 230 multiple-choice questions. As noted in the previous question and answer, these questions are divided between four sections.
There are 10 passages in each of the three science sections of the test. Each passage has 4-7 questions each. There are also 15 standalone multiple choice questions in each of the three science sections. The Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section has nine passages.
The three science sections include questions about basic science knowledge. The questions require that you use information provided to you. Therefore, you must analyze information, apply what you know, and draw on various skills to determine the correct answer.
For example, in the Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems section, you must be able to understand concepts like growth and reproduction. This includes demonstrating knowledge of how cells aid in these processes.
A similar pattern is found in the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section. The questions in this section ask you to show your understanding of chemical and physical processes in the human body.
An example of this might be demonstrating your knowledge of the mechanics of standing balance.
In the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section, questions revolve around human behavior. There are also questions regarding sociocultural influences on health.
A possible topic from this section might involve the potential applications of operant conditioning in daily life.
In the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section, questions will challenge your critical thinking skills. This section does not involve medical-based questions. Instead, they are based in humanities and the social sciences.
As a result, questions come from subjects like cultural studies, ethics, philosophy, and population health. For example, you might encounter a question such as, “Does free will exist?”
Remember, this section is based on passages. All the information you need to answer the passage questions is provided for you in the reading.
Is the MCAT hard?
Like any test, the difficulty of the MCAT depends on a lot of factors.
What can make the MCAT so hard is that the content knowledge it tests is advanced. The subject matter is also diverse:
- Organic chemistry
- General chemistry
Studying for such a wide range of subjects can be a challenge. Of course, the length of the test itself is also a challenge.
At about 7.5 hours of seated time, the MCAT is by far the longest standardized test. Compare that to three hours for the SAT, 3.5 hours for the ACT, and 3.75 hours for the GRE.
Another aspect of the MCAT that presents challenges is that it asked a lot of questions in a short time period. Some test-takers struggle to finish some of the MCAT sections. Unfinished questions means fewer points toward passing the exam.
The passage format of the test can also be difficult. The passages aren’t long – just six to seven paragraphs. But this adds complexity to the test because you can’t rely on simple recall of facts. Instead, you have to integrate information you glean from each passage with your existing knowledge of the subject to arrive at the correct answer.
All that aside, many test-takers do very well on the MCAT each year. It is a matter of taking the proper approach to studying for the exam.
This might mean taking multiple full-length practice tests. It might also involve taking one of the best MCAT prep courses outlined in our rankings. Studying MCAT test prep books, brushing up on critical thinking skills, and practicing reading charts and graphs can help you make the MCAT more manageable as well.
What is the MCAT score range?
The MCAT score range is 472-528. This overall score is comprised of scores for each of the four test sections. Each section is scored on a scale of 118-132.
It is important to note that the MCAT is a scaled exam. This means that the raw score you achieve is scaled. This is done to take the difficulty of the exam questions into account. Each version of the MCAT is slightly different with varying levels of difficulty. That’s why scaling the final scores is so important.
What you want is a score that puts you at or above the average percentile of graduates from your preferred medical schools. Since these scores are different from one school to the next, a “good” MCAT score will vary from one person to the next. For reference, the average MCAT score for MD students in 2017-18 was 510-511. Those students had an average GPA of 3.71 on a 4.0 scale.