As any physician will tell you, the MCAT is perhaps the most important step to placement in a medical school or graduate-level health care education. In terms of importance, it’s like the Bar Exam, considering how scrutinized the MCAT is and how much medical school courses focus on passing the boards.
The MCAT alone makes up 50% of your statistics that will be seen by any medical school, and so scoring well on the test is a top priority for many aspiring clinicians. To get ready for the MCAT, the best thing you can do is enroll in an MCAT prep course. In this article we’ll help you decide on choosing the best course.
How long should an MCAT prep course last?
Many students that have performed successfully well on the MCAT spent a minimum of 200 hours preparing. Typically before starting your prep course, you will need to take into consideration the date of your MCAT, and any other commitments you have. It’s a good idea to prepare 3 to 6 months before the exam.
How can I find the best MCAT prep courses?
Not all MCAT prep courses are the same, and before enrolling in one you need to consider their structure, teaching methods, resources given, and other little factors. There is an overwhelming number of courses on the market, and trying to compare them and figure out the best would be maddening. You can read comparisons on Crushing The USMLE, which highlights the absolute best of the best MCAT prep courses, to make finding the right course a lot easier on yourself.
What should I look for in an MCAT prep course?
The best MCAT prep course for you is going to be one that you can adjust your schedule to, and offers learning methods you can adapt to. But there are a few things you should consider as well.
1.) What does the prep course focus on?
You should be certain that the company focuses exclusively on the MCAT, rather than just a bunch of standardized test prep materials. This is a top priority, because a company that focuses solely on the MCAT will know the ins and outs of the exam, and be better able to guide students in preparing for the test date.
2.) Are you prepared with practice exams?
There are many benefits to doing practice tests before you take the actual MCAT. You’ll be able to know where you need to sharpen up, such as if you need more help in general chemistry, hematology, or maybe cardiology. You’ll retain knowledge better, and practice tests can help eliminate nervousness you might feel on the day of the MCAT.
A good MCAT prep course is going to start off slowly, giving you low-pressure practice tests without a time limit and book referencing allowed. As you get closer to the test date, the prep course will then switch to simulated test conditions.
3.) Are the instructors experts in the subjects?
It’s not entirely beneficial to you for your MCAT prep instructor to be only a grad student themselves. While they may have more knowledge than you, you really want your instructor to be an absolute expert with plenty of qualifications, so that they’re able to impart greater depths of understanding to you.
4.) Does the course offer lectures?
Many modern courses, especially online, may offer you the ‘convenience’ of just purchasing study materials, and being left to study on your own, with no lectures. You absolutely do not want that type of course when prepping for the MCAT. To get the best MCAT results possible, your prep course should offer plenty of instruction time.
Whether your MCAT prep course is online or in-person, you should look for one that offers structured, classroom-style lectures. When it comes to the MCAT, a classroom is going to offer more benefits than learning on your own, for the particular subject matter.