Do you need an MCAT prep course to achieve your dream MCAT score? Do you need some help in improving your MCAT taking-strategies or your content knowledge? Some students achieve success by creating their own rigorous MCAT study schedule and sticking to it, but most seek guidance and help in tackling this intimidating examination.

In this blog, we will explore what is the best MCAT prep course, help you decide whether an MCAT prep course is right for you, and how you can choose the one that fits your needs.

Disclaimer: MCAT is a registered trademark of AAMC. BeMo and AAMC do not endorse or affiliate with one another.


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Are MCAT Prep Courses Worth It?

Will the MCAT determine your worth as a physician? No, not really. The MCAT isn’t great at determining whether you will have any value as a doctor or medical professional.

Despite the MCAT being a near-ubiquitous test, often weighted heavily by medical schools, it is still imperfect. It has biases within it that aren’t beneficial to students.

Many admissions practices have to do with money and exclusivity. MCAT is no different. That’s not right.

We encourage you to look at some studies and findings by Sortsmart concerning medical school admissions in the US and medical school admissions in Canada. These studies find that the MCAT weights students' results along socioeconomic lines and notes a correlative bias between MCAT scores and gender and race. In the Sortsmart studies, there is a trend of higher MCAT scores being attributed to wealthier, affluent, and Caucasian demographics. Sortsmart also examines the background and demographics of medical school students, finding that a majority are Caucasian and from affluent backgrounds. The study also notes that a majority of medical school students believe that the admissions process needs an overhaul.

We at BeMo don’t think the MCAT is a good test. We don’t support it, and we think there should be a better way to determine medical school admissions. In fact, that’s one of the major reasons for our existence: fairness.

We believe that everybody deserves an equal shot at an education and should have just as much chance at following their passions to make a difference and achieve their dreams and goals. Your background, your race, your socioeconomic status – none of that should matter in the scheme of things. You deserve an equal chance.

We at BeMo don’t necessarily think that the MCAT is the best way to evaluate a student. We believe that students have unique traits to offer that cannot always be quantified by numbers and that their experiences and abilities are not limited to such tests.

Because the MCAT is commonly required for admission to medical school, it is still important to score well on this test. To score well on the MCAT, you’ll need the proper tools. This is the point of an MCAT prep course, to provide you with the strategies and knowledge of how to ace this test so you can have a better shot of getting accepted to the medical school of your choice.

MCAT prep courses coach students on what to expect from the MCAT, how to study for it, and what they need to know about this rigorous medical school admissions requirement. An MCAT prep course also covers test-taking strategies. If you don’t do well on tests, we can help. You don’t have a knowledge problem or a competency problem; it’s just that some students are better and more responsive to tests. Just because you aren’t a test-taker doesn’t mean you deserve to lose out. We give you the strategies to put you in the same game: an even shot at the goal.

So, to sum up, while we do think you should try to ace the MCAT and work hard to get the best grades you can, you should also recognize your value as a student and person outside of mere numbers. We hope to find institutions that agree, and maybe we will see fairer systems implemented in the future – systems that account for unique backgrounds without sacrificing the rigorous standards that academic institutions, particularly medical schools, require.

Wondering if you need an MCAT prep course or tutor to get a good MCAT score? Watch this video:

What Is the Best MCAT Prep Course?

The answer might seem obvious, right? The best MCAT prep course is the course that gets you your desired MCAT score! And this is true, but how can a course achieve this? As we discuss later in this blog, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of MCAT prep courses that offer different types of services and promise stellar results? But how to choose the right one?

In our experience, no two students are the same. Every student we work with has a unique learning style and needs. This is why a one-on-one MCAT prep course might be the best option for those looking to improve their MCAT score. The personalized feedback and attention to your needs you receive in these sessions can greatly improve your MCAT skills, whether it’s your MCAT CARS strategy, MCAT timing, or knowledge of the MCAT content.

The one-on-one sessions are not necessary for every student, but if you are gambling on what kind of course will be most helpful in getting you the score you want, then it’s a sure bet that this MCAT prep course style is the best.

However, before you jump into signing up for a course, we strongly advise you to read this article to analyze whether your need an MCAT prep course, what kind of course would work best for your learning style, and what kind of costs you should expect. The information below will help you weigh all the pros and cons of learning in a course vs independent study, so you can make a sound decision that is right for you.

So, let’s dive in! 

Want more options for MCAT studying? Click here to see our Alternative MCAT Study Strategies.

Why BeMo MCAT Prep is Your Best Choice

The best type of prep is always personalized. At BeMo, we understand that every student has a unique learning style. This is why we are the leaders in personalized prep. Rather trying to make one size fit all, we offer tailored prep to every student in any of our programs, whether it’s our personalized CASPer test prep courses, MMI prep, med applications review, and so on.

For our MCAT test takers, we prepared a one-of-a-kind challenge that is sure to encourage a top score! If you score 520 or more within 90 days of enrolling in one of our MCAT programs, we will convert the fee you paid for MCAT prep into BeMo credits, which you can use for any of our other prep services. Basically, if you are a top scorer, you will be rewarded for all the work you put in during MCAT study! 

But if you are worried that we only help those who score high, think again! We understand that it may take you a couple of times to get to that coveted 520 score – a score that will get you accepted to most medical schools in Canada and the US. So if you do not get this score on your first try, we will let you repeat our MCAT prep program for free!

Why do we provide such bold guarantees? Because we are certain in our ability to help you achieve your goal score and get into the program of your dreams. We are ready to provide you with unlimited personalized prep to make sure you are absolutely ready for the test!

The BeMo Guarantees

We put our money where our mouth is. In fact, we’ll put our money with you! Anybody can say something impactful, or make a promise like, “improved studying habits,” but those aren’t concrete. We believe in taking a stronger stance. You know that somebody is serious when they lay money on the line. We do that.

Here’s a guarantee: if you don’t love it, we’ll give you your money back. Why pay for a product or service if you don’t like it? The best companies in the world offer you a good product that they stand behind. If the customer doesn’t like it, they get a refund. Right? So many courses are non-refundable. That’s not the case here. If you don’t love it, you don’t have to pay for it.

Our Bold Guarantees also include Get In Or Your Money Back and No B.S. Full Repeat. You can repeat the course if you don’t achieve results.

You’d think we’d lose our shirts offering that, but no; that’s what having a good service is: we aren’t worried that you won’t love it.

Participate in contests to really see us put up money to back our claims. Ace the MCAT and you can win up to $100,000! The prospect of covering a large amount of your medical school expenses just by doing well on a test sounds great, but here’s the reality: even if you lose, you won.

These contests are intended as motivators to help students like yourself get top scores in the MCATs. You’ll have consultations with us, develop top-grade study habits, and work towards a goal – no, a dream – of yours. The worst-case scenario is that you earn a high score on the MCATs, but don’t win the prize money, and now you’re off to a ripping head-start in medical school, anyway.

But, wait: wouldn’t the worst-case be that you fail the MCAT? Get a low score? Not with our guarantees. Again, we cannot stress this enough: we believe in our process, and in our consultations and courses. We believe in BeMo, and we believe in you.

If you are still on the fence, let's discuss how you can decide whether you need an MCAT prep course to get ready!

Are you wondering what makes the MCAT challenging?

How Can I Decide Whether I Need an MCAT Prep Course?

Start with asking yourself the following questions:

Ultimately, only you can answer the question of whether or not you need an MCAT prep course. The above factors can only guide you towards making a well-considered decision. If you choose to go forward with your search for your ultimate course, follow the steps outlined below.

Steps to Take Before Enrolling in an MCAT Prep Course

Follow these steps before you arrive at your final decision about taking, or not taking, an MCAT prep course:

  1. Take a diagnostic test: Your MCAT prep should always begin with an MCAT diagnostic test. This will help you determine where you’re at now (your baseline score), what your major areas of improvement are, and how to study for the MCAT. It will also help you get a good idea of how tough the MCAT test is and how much help you might need.
  2. Scan the test materials: Go through the free AAMC MCAT test prep materials online to see how comfortable you are with the concepts and the test format. This should also give you an idea of whether or not you need intensive tutoring or self-directed study.
  3. Evaluate your own goals and limitations: What medical schools do you want to get into? What is your ideal MCAT score? What is your minimum required MCAT score? What is your schedule like? How much time do you have left before the MCAT? What is your biggest obstacle to achieving your ideal MCAT score? Do you NEED to have an instructor or can you get by using self-study? Answer these questions honestly so you know exactly what kind of help you need.
  4. Research the different courses: Go online and find out all you can about the different MCAT prep courses. Compare courses at different price points to see what they are offering. Most importantly, remember your own needs, weaknesses and strengths when you research them. Read what they are best at, what they focus on, and how they can help you.
  5. Read the reviews: Find third-party reviews of the courses to understand their strengths and weaknesses and how they align with your own. Talk to ex-students who can make recommendations from their personal experience.
  6. Contact the course instructors/administrators: This is a good exercise if you know you need help but you’re not entirely sure which type of course is best suited for you. Ideally, you should contact different courses so you get a realistic idea of which program can help you best. A good prep company will gladly walk you through their MCAT prep course during an initial consultation for free. They will demonstrate their interest in your success and not make you sign up for anything until you are certain they are the right fit for you!
  7. Make a level-headed decision: Applying to medical school is a stressful process! With so many things to get done, it might be tempting to take a hasty decision under duress. Instead, try sleeping on this decision for a couple of nights, doing all the required research and then taking the final call based on your actual needs.

Benefits of Taking an MCAT Prep Course

Looking at the cost outlay for an MCAT prep course can be daunting, especially when you consider the overall medical school cost! It might put you off the concept altogether. The important thing, however, is not to focus on the amount you have to pay, but to consider if you are getting value for your money. The ultimate goal is to efficiently use both your time and money to get the best possible result. If you choose to go for a self-study schedule, and your MCAT score does not meet the standards of the medical school you’re applying to, it will be hard to convince the medical school admissions committee to take a look at the rest of your application and you may not move forward in the selection process. You’ll have to end up investing even more money and time to re-take the MCAT – not to mention the emotional heartbreak of not getting the result you wanted. For some students, in the long run, the benefits of taking an MCAT prep course might be well worth the money.

Here are some benefits for you to consider:

Keep these in mind before you enroll!

Do You Need an MCAT Prep Course to Ace the MCAT?

There are a lot of students who have aced the MCAT without enrolling in any course, via self-directed study. For those who choose this path, it’s important to invest some time in doing your research, gathering all the study materials, and creating an effective self-study schedule. The AAMC offers a great collection of free and low-cost online resources on their website. You can supplement this with other low-cost online resources, including webinars, videos, PDFs, podcasts, tests, test diagnostics and guides. You can also leverage free resources such as apps, forums, and discussion boards to form study groups.

A self-study strategy is the right option if you match the following criteria:

Additionally, while MCAT prep courses do offer access to a large number of resources, these resources may not always be reliable. That’s why it’s important to regularly check your progress. For example, taking as many practice tests as possible definitely helps to keep track of your progress and improve your final score. But without personalized feedback and professional help, many students find it difficult to figure out what areas of weakness they should address and how to structure their time to achieve the highest results possible. This is why going with a prep course with good reputation, proven strategies, and unbiased excellent reviews is key in your search for the right MCAT prep class. If the MCAT prep course you choose is not reliable or comprehensive, you may end up wishing you had just chosen the self-directed study option.

Conclusion

The MCAT is one of the most difficult academic tests in the world and there’s no magic formula to help you ace it. You will have to plan your study schedule carefully, put in hours of dedicated studying and stay focused on your goal. An MCAT prep course could help you make the best use of your time and maximize your efficiency. Whether or not you opt for one will depend on a variety of factors. Make sure you carefully consider all the pros and cons before taking this important decision.

FAQs

1. What are the different types of MCAT prep courses?

A lot of different institutes offer MCAT prep courses. Typically, the low-cost courses will include a bundle of study materials (textbooks, guides, flashcards, practice tests, question banks, videos) and limited access to live sessions (workshops, webinars or classes). The mid-cost classes offer a more comprehensive course including access to all extensive study materials, online/in-person classes, instruction from subject matter experts, customized schedules and numerous practice tests with customized feedback. The most expensive courses include an intensive regimen of section-wise classes, 1-on-1 tutoring, customized homework and more.

2. Will an MCAT prep course actually help me improve my MCAT score?

This depends first and foremost on you. A good MCAT score requires, at the very least, 300 hours of intensive studying along with multiple practice test attempts. No course can help you skip this necessary hard work. However, many courses do offer a money back scheme if you don’t improve your score (as compared to your diagnostic score), conditional upon the student having completed all the mandatory requirements of the course (attending class, completing homework, sitting for the practice tests etc.) You are most likely to see a score improvement if:

  • You enroll in a course that meets your individual requirements
  • You make full use of all the resources they offer you
3. What are the benefits of taking an MCAT prep course?

Enrolling in an MCAT prep course will give you access to a much larger pool of study materials, including textbooks, guides, videos, webinars, question banks, practice tests etc. A lot of courses target “high-yield” concepts – that is, their materials cover concepts most likely to be tested in the MCAT. The more comprehensive courses also offer a customized study schedule to help students that struggle with sticking to deadlines.

There are also many different types of MCAT courses to suit different students' needs – from self-paced, online courses with pre-recorded lectures and interactive office hours to intensive classroom instruction by recently successful test takers and other subject matter experts. You can also select courses targeting score improvement in specific sections. A lot of courses also offer specialized instruction in test-taking strategies. This can help if you’re struggling with answering the passage-based questions in the given time.

Finally, a lot of students struggle with understanding exactly what they’re doing wrong and how to fix it. By enrolling in an MCAT prep course, you get access to detailed, individual feedback on your practice tests. This makes identifying and working on your areas of improvement much easier. It also helps to save the time and additional efforts that you would otherwise have to put into research.

4. Are MCAT prep courses worth it?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. Every student has different requirements in terms of their schedule, time commitments, academic backgrounds, test-taking skills, preferred study style and so on. Aspiring med school students should carefully consider each of these factors to determine if an MCAT prep course is worth the money. If you feel your grasp on the foundational content is weak, and you need help with test-taking strategies, an MCAT prep course may be an excellent investment in yourself and your future. If you just want a one-stop shop where you can access all materials, instruction, study schedules and so on, an MCAT prep course could save you a lot of stress. Alternatively, you might be very comfortable with self-study and therefore don’t need anything beyond the low-cost study materials available online. Do your research on the different courses, identify your areas of improvement, and then you can figure out if an MCAT prep course is worth it for you.

5. Can I get a good MCAT score without an MCAT prep course?

A lot of students take the MCAT without enrolling in any prep course and manage to achieve their desired score. This is the right option for self-motivated, disciplined and focused students. You should be ready to put in your 300 hours (or more) of study, plus additional time for research, resource gathering and practice tests. There are plenty of free and low-cost resources available online, including the official AAMC prep materials, to help you plan and execute your MCAT prep. If at any point you judge that you’re falling behind, you always have the option of taking a targeted subject-specific online course, buying a low-cost resource bundle or hiring a tutor for a few sessions to help you sail through.

6. Which is the best MCAT prep course?

Logically, whichever course will help you the most. You have to find one that will fill your needs and get you the score you need.

Ultimately, to really improve your score, a one-on-one study course with an MCAT expert will conform to your needs, even if you don’t know what they are. This type of prep course will be solely focused on improving your weaknesses and help you develop exam-taking strategies, including stress management.

Most students will find this type of course maximally beneficial because it will focus on them individually, and give them what they need.

7. What are the disadvantages of MCAT prep classes?

MCAT prep courses are generally helpful for students, but sometimes, can end up being the wrong choice. For example, some classes are tailored towards addressing a specific aspect of the MCAT – either a specific subject, section or general test-taking strategies. If you need more comprehensive help, then taking this type of MCAT prep class could hinder your prep. Similarly, the MCAT practice tests that the course offers could be different from the actual MCAT, in terms of subject matter as well as scoring. If you go in blind, thinking the final MCAT will be exactly like your practice tests, you may struggle during your actual test. Finally, some MCAT prep courses have a pre-determined schedule of classes, practice tests, Q&A sessions etc. If this schedule clashes with your own, you’ll be skipping sessions and ultimately, wasting your money.

8. How can I find an MCAT prep class that is right for me?

To begin with, make sure you give this decision a lot of thought and do all the required research. Find out about the various courses out there and what they offer. Take an MCAT diagnostic test to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Do you need more help with the CARS section? Or are you looking for section-specific improvement? Next, clearly define your own study style. Ask yourself how you study best – in a study group? In a classroom setting? With a self-paced online course? A combination of these? These questions will help you clarify your study goals. Once you know what you, personally, want from an MCAT prep course, talk to different course administrators to see if their offerings match your requirements. Many courses offer multiple options to suit different types of students, so rather than blindly selecting a price tag or brand name, go for an MCAT prep class that suits your academic needs. Finally, before signing up for the course, do read the independent reviews of the course and talk to some ex-students to get an impartial assessment. Following these few guidelines can help you make the right decision about which MCAT prep class to pick.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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1 Comments

Juan Carlos Vazquez

If i struggled in particular pre-req or two –– would you recommend retaking these courses first before beginning to study for the MCAT?

Reply

BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi Juan Carlos! Thank you very much for your question. If you are going to retake a course, you must also restructure your study strategies. Simply retaking a class using the same learning habits might not result in better learning and understanding, or a better grade. The key to successful MCAT prep is developing the right strategies and tactics that allow you to maximize your learning, critical thinking skills, and knowledge of MCAT content. Retaking a class might help, but you must work on your personal study habits to increase comprehension and knowledge of content. I hope this helps your decision. If you have any more questions, let us know!

BeMo Academic Consulting

Juan Carlos, you are the winner of our weekly draw. Please email us by the end of the day tomorrow (October 2nd) at content[at]bemoacademicconsulting.com from the same email address you used to leave your comment to claim your prize!

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