“Do I need an MCAT tutor?” is a question we hear often from our students. The MCAT is a notoriously hard and grueling exam, and students are glad to get information and advice that will help them ace this test. There are hundreds of free resources and that can help you get ready for the exam, but do you need personalized feedback and tailored advice to get the you need to get into medical school?
Some students thrive on the additional guidance and confidence provided by tutoring, but no two students are the same. We are here to help you determine if an MCAT tutor is right for you, and if so, how to find one that suits your needs.
Disclaimer: MCAT is a registered trademark of AAMC. BeMo and AAMC do not endorse or affiliate with one another.
The answer to this question may seem obvious, but it’s important to emphasize what you should expect from an MCAT tutor and what an MCAT tutor can do for you!
Right off the bat, we want to say that not everybody needs an MCAT tutor. Some students are perfectly comfortable studying on their own, finding the right resources, and applying study strategies they find online to their own learning styles. However, MCAT prep is time-consuming, expensive, daunting, and often overwhelming. Many students simply do not know where to begin! This is where the guidance of a professional can really make a difference; some students even wish they’d considered an MCAT tutor sooner:
“Shreya N was very pleasant and informative at my MCAT onboarding session. We came up with a study plan that is realistic for me with measures to keep me accountable. I wish I had enrolled in this program much sooner.”
For everyone preparing to write the MCAT, it’s important to evaluate how much MCAT prep you will need and whether you will need additional help.
Step 1: Take a Diagnostic Test
Whether you've already taken the MCAT or you're preparing for your first sitting, you'll want to begin by establishing your baseline knowledge with an . The goal with a diagnostic test is to understand your specific strengths and weaknesses before you embark on your MCAT preparations. Sometimes, you may think you have your MCAT study schedule sorted, and the right mindset to begin, but a diagnostic test can confirm this, or, provide a clearer picture of what you need to do…
“Great experience with Dr.Rashmi Kumar. She helped me re-assess my MCAT study plan after doing my 1st diagnostic test.” –
As an aside: If you have any medical conditions that require additional resources like food, water, or medical devices like an insulin pump then keep those on hand too, but be sure to apply for with the AAMC at least three months ahead of when you’d like to take the test. Accommodations are generally granted, but they must be proven to be medically necessary.
Step 2: Review Your Diagnostic Test Results
As you review the results of your diagnostic, identify your strengths and areas that need improvement. If you notice that you lack basic knowledge in majority of MCAT content areas, you may want to brush up on your sciences. However, the knowledge of disciplines is often not the main issue for students – it’s the ability to apply their knowledge to passage-based questions that they struggle with. This is something a tutor can definitely help with, along with content refresh.
Diagnosing your baseline knowledge can be challenging if you get a lot of complex questions wrong. If this is the case, and you need help sorting out exactly which points are weakest for you, then consulting a tutor can greatly benefit you:
“I had Dr. Joseph Narusis for two sessions now and he is an amazing consultant. He first spent 30 minutes discussing my study schedule and he helped me update it. Then we went through a MCAT passage together and he very thoroughly explained all of the concepts I did not remember or had trouble with. He gave me many helpful links to further my studies and makes sure to address any questions I have. All of the study strategies he has given me have been very helpful. He is definitely one of the most helpful and kind consultants I've had thus far. I appreciate all of the work and time he spent helping me so much!” –
Last but certainly not least, you should consider your time spent on the diagnostic test. While working on your should not be the priority during your MCAT prep, knowing where you stand as you begin to prepare for this test is important. The sections on which you spend the most time are typically the ones that are most challenging to you. If you're unsure why some questions are more challenging than others, then working with a tutor is a good idea as they can help you figure it out:
“Vicky Cerdeira was such an amazing MCAT consultant! She was able to break down very complex biochemistry topics and make them super easy to understand and digest, and I left the session feeling very excited and confident.” –
We recommend paying attention to your timing but not worrying about it too much; as you advance in your MCAT prep, you should naturally get faster, so you can use timing to track your progress.
Based on your assessment of your diagnostic test, reflect on whether you can tackle MCAT prep on your own.
Do you need an MCAT prep course or tutor to get a good MCAT score? Watch this video:
Step 3: Assess the Importance of Your MCAT Score
Before you start your search for a tutor, stop and reflect on how important your MCAT score is. For some students, their score will play a pivotal role in their medical school applications. For example, if you have a GOA that is below the average of your chosen schools—you may be relying on the MCAT to make up for this. A high MCAT score can't overshadow a 1.5 GPA, but it can offset a few decimals if the rest of your application is strong. If you’re hoping to , you will want to make sure that your MCAT score is outstanding.
Some medical schools weigh individual sections of the MCAT higher when they rank their applicants, so you would want to do everything possible to maximize your score on these. A few schools will even disregard all but specific sections, such as , which only considers the CARS section. In any case, it's vital to study the schools to which you're applying and try to determine how they'll consider the various parts of your application and MCAT. And, your MCAT tutor can help you laser-focus on specific sections if need be:
“Noah has been so helpful for my CARS sessions! He truly takes the time to help explain difficult passages and questions. I'm so thankful for BeMo (and Noah!) on this MCAT journey!” –
Check out our infographic to learn how to get a good MCAT score:
Timeis a vital factor to consider. If you're considering retaking the MCAT within a given testing year, then your timeline may be considerably more restricted. Alternately, you may be pressed for time and only have one opportunity to take the MCAT. If you’re in a situation like this, utilizing a tutor is almost assuredly the right call. If nothing else, it takes some of the pressure off of you to personally create and navigate your preparation plan, and can give you a number of additional tools as well.
However, keep in mind that hiring an MCAT tutor one day before your exam is also not going to result in any progress! MCAT skills need to be developed over time, so make sure to give yourself time for at least a few sessions with a tutor. Remember, preparing for the MCAT is a journey that you can’t expect to complete in a day:
"Amanda Thompson was a superb instructor. She was very patient and very invested in my success not just in the session, but also in terms of my entire MCAT journey. She also gave very helpful and honest tips. I would very much love to have a session again with Amanda.” –
Step 5: Consider the Resources at Your Disposal
One of the most challenging aspects of MCAT prep is identifying and gathering the materials that you will need to prepare. MCAT prep requires a lot more than content review!If you are going to prepare for the MCAT alone, you will need to spend a significant amount of time researching different study materials in the hopes of finding ones that are informative, up-to-date, and helpful, all before you even start to review content or try to The reality is that while there are a lot of free resources online, they are not tailored to your specific needs, so you will need to spend time combing through various blog posts and MCAT prep books to find the information you actually need. An MCAT tutor, however, is an expert in all things content and they’re focused on helping students utilize various strategies (not just answering a question):
“Dr. Austin Hancock helped me review the psychology/sociology lesson with the associated quiz and passage. He provided guidance on problem-solving strategies and insight on distinguishing between similar personality disorders. He was also very patient and corrected any misunderstandings I had when reading the passage and answering questions.” –
For example, if you struggle with physics specifically, finding additional would be beneficially. But, you’ll need to find a reliable source that accurately represents the current MCAT format and correct answers.
Working with an MCAT tutor saves you a lot of time because they already have access to tons of resources. They can use your diagnostic test and experience to put together the materials you need to prepare and address the areas you are struggling with instead of just focusing on .
Step 6: Reflect on Your Learning Style
Some students prefer to study alone and are actually more productive that way. Other students struggle to study alone and get motivated, so having someone there to guide them is the best form of preparation.
Another consideration, going on your diagnostic test results, is how readily you can access and review the information you're weak on. If you have a degree in biology, then it’s probably your strong suit…but if you don’t, then trying to figure out where to start your studying for the section will be stressgul. As mentioned earlier, there is an overwhelming amount of information online but identifying the trustworthy sources can be time-consuming. And, an MCAT tutor can help:
“I had my Biology/Biochemistry session with Shahir Morcos this week. Suffice to say, I felt quite liberated coming out of the session. My earlier inhibitions relating to content clarity regarding the passage itself and the questions that followed were very capably looked after by Shahir. His in-depth knowledge about biological sciences benefitted my understanding immensely. He also provided out-of-context (holistic understanding) of materials related to biological sciences that aided my understanding of MCAT content in other sections in addition to the current one. A very friendly and capable instructor!” -
Working with an MCAT tutor can be especially helpful if you're a non-traditional applicant. Maybe you are someone who's taken a gap year, someone with a background in the humanities, someone turning to a career in medicine later in life, or someone leaving the military among many other possibilities. MCAT tutors can be a great help to those who have limited recent academic experience in the sciences. Tutors will know what you need to know, or will be able to provide you with or to get you up to speed. Even beyond your MCAT prep, BeMo can help you:
“As a non-traditional applicant, they made the process so incredibly easy by offering everything related to the application cycle. It was very obvious after my secondaries were submitted and I received drafts back that their guidance was pivotal to me telling my story and answering questions. Their advice was incredibly helpful and if anyone is looking to for help with the application process I would recommend BeMo for it all!” –
Working with an MCAT tutor can be especially helpful if you're a non-traditional applicant. By non-traditional we simply mean someone who hasn't maintained an unbroken path to med school; so, someone who's taken a gap year, someone with a background in the humanities, someone turning to a career in medicine later in life, or someone leaving the military among many other possibilities. MCAT tutors can be a great help to those who took their intro science courses a decade ago, or who have limited recent academic experience in the sciences. Tutors will know what you need to know, or will be able to provide you with or to get you up to speed.
Check out what else you can do to stand out!
Step 8: Decide Whether You Need a Tutor
Now that you’ve reviewed the 7 steps above, you should be able to decide whether or not you need an MCAT tutor. If you’ve decided you’d benefit from one, you’ll now need to learn how to find the best of the best!
Even if you are still just entertaining the idea of an MCAT tutor, you’ll want to invest some time and care into finding the best one for your needs. Whether you need assistance with the entire process or are particularly nervous about a specific section, a tutor can be of assistance:
“CARS is seen as one of the most challenging section in the MCAT exam and being prepared to tackle those questions can be difficult without tutoring. Isaac Bai is a fantastic tutor who allowed me to see my progress and thought process as we went through passages and questions. Overall a great mentor to have.” – .
There are hundreds of MCAT tutors online, offering their services via premed forums like , and . Simply searching for MCAT tutors online will flood you with thousands of options that often feel indistinguishable from one another, so what can you do to find the one that fits your needs? Keep reading…
#1: Go With Experience
It’s crucial to have someone with MCAT-specific tutoring experience to guide you in your preparations. A good tutor will know the MCAT inside and out, so be sure to do your research and don’t settle for just anyone.
Specifically, you’d want to determine that a tutor has helped students in the last 5-6 years and understands the latest version of the test. Don’t just take their word for it—be sure to do your homework and interview them for the position.
Not only is it beneficial to speak with someone who is familiar with the MCAT format, but they should ideally be somebody with a successful career and track record:
“I was very surprised by the quality of the content, feedback and immersion I was able to get from my session with one of BeMo’s coach. I thought I might regret paying so much, but I honestly feel like it was worth the money. My coach was an actual md from mayo clinic, which is something I really didn’t expect.” –
If you go with a prep company, always check their reviews for MCAT preparation on an independent website such as Trustpilot to see if they’ve helped past students succeed. It is important to ensure that you are placing your trust in a trained and tested MCAT expert.
#2: Find a Teacher, Not Just a Student Who Aced Their Own MCAT
Despite what some MCAT reddit forums might lead you to think, just because someone has done well on the MCAT doesn’t automatically mean that they can teach you how to do the same. A tutor is only as good as their ability to teach, so ensure that your tutor has teaching experience and has undergone extensive training. You need to work with somebody who can teach, coach and motivate you, so you’ll be able to tackle the MCAT with the same confidence as our former student, Leila, who worked with our MCAT tutor Shahir:
“Shahir Morcos is hands down my favourite MCAT mentor! He is a very nice person who genuinely cares about your understanding of a topic. Whenever we have sessions together, he never rushes me and always makes sure that I feel comfortable answering questions (even when I get them wrong). Shahir will guide me step by step while encouraging me. He always reassures me by telling me that he knows I am smart and capable, so I should always try because he won't judge me at all!
He is very kind but I also want to add that he is an excellent balance of tough love. This is very important because a mentor must be honest with the student they are working with as it is necessary for growth. I really appreciate that he does this because it helps me stay accountable for my learning and encourages my desire to learn.” –
As anyone who’s made the transition from student to teacher will attest, the ability to effectively direct knowledge to others and guide them toward understanding it is different than simply absorbing information and using it on a test or paper. Additionally, their teaching style should align with your learning style.
#3: Ensure That You'll Get Personalized Feedback
Connected to the last point, it’s important to make sure that a tutor or prep company’s program will be tailored to your needs both before and after diagnostics/practice. An important but sometimes overlooked part of this is finding an expert that will be able to give you personalized feedback in addition to a holistic review of the entire MCAT preparation process
“Dr. Narusis's extensive repertoire of supplementary resources has proved instrumental in the holistic orchestration of my MCAT preparations. He ventures beyond the confines of traditional textbooks, providing a diverse array of materials intended to augment my comprehension across various sections. His willingness to share these additional sources vividly demonstrates his dedication to delivering a well-rounded and all-encompassing learning experience.” –
A tutor that only provides answers to practice problems in or will not be effective—you need your preparation to address you and your specific needs as an individual. Cookie-cutter feedback isn’t constructive!
Want to score high on your MCAT? Watch this video for our tips!
#4: Ask for Recommendations
Many excellent tutors work by word of mouth. If you are preparing for the MCAT, chances are you know several students that have already taken it and done well. For instance, if your friend has a similar learning style to you, and their tutor helped them to achieve a competitive MCAT score, then this is a great place to start your search. However, don’t just take their word for it—always interview them for the position!
You can also ask for a student reference to determine if an MCAT tutor you’re considering is effective and suited to your needs. This may ruffle the feathers of some tutors, but anyone worth their fees should be able to point you toward reviews or feedback from students they’ve helped in the past. Looking at reviews online can be telling, too – especially if they’re from a trusted source like Trustpilot – where students tend to be quite open and honest (as there is an option to remain anonymous).Look for reviews that mention specific qualities that the student enjoyed about the tutor, or, things that they did to help them. For instance, this BeMo review…
“Shaughnelene Smith is an exceptional tutor who greatly contributed to my learning experience. Her expertise and engaging teaching style helped me understand the materials thoroughly. She encouraged critical thinking and created a supportive environment, making every session enjoyable and productive. I highly recommend her for anyone seeking effective and enjoyable learning.” –
…stands out more than a review that has no comment. Or, one that simply says, “They were good.”
#5: Test Drive Their Services to Ensure a Good Fit
An excellent MCAT tutor will not only be able to help you improve your scores, but they will also truly care about your success and will allow you to test drive their services before committing to a lengthier relationship. Look for a tutor that will provide you with a free initial lesson or consultation to get a feel for their teaching style and expertise, as well as to ensure that they are able to provide you with personalized feedback. Take it from one of our own students…
“I have benefited greatly from this organisation despite my yet to be registered status. I had a free session with them, and it was a superb experience. They keep sending me materials full of expert advice like its a commitment for them. I rate these guys high.” -
Lastly, the best MCAT tutoring services will be transparent in all regards, including costs. If the financial data seems cagey or hard to find, odds are that’s because they’re only in it for money or simply overcharge for their services.
#6: Consider the Cost vs Value Ratio
It is totally understandable to want to minimize your . However, do not start celebrating right away when you find a cheap MCAT tutor that seems to meet your needs. Do your due diligence and make sure that the tutor you are about to hire is legitimately helpful. If you go only by price, you risk getting a tutor that is not helpful and therefore wasteful of your time and money! So not only will you not get the score you need, you will also waste finances that could have been used to hire a slightly more expensive, but competent tutor. Look at this as an all-around investment; they aren’t just helping you review questions. A good tutor will help you with all of your MCAT preparation, they’ll provide resources and strategies, and they’ll have your best interest in mind:
“I just completed my first MCAT CARS review with Matthew. To sum it all up, it was a great session. We went over some practice passages, emphasizing how to critically analyze them. His feedback and advice were both very helpful. Even by the end of the session, I felt that I improved. I can't wait to read more passages and critically analyze them using this helpful technique. That way, I can showcase my progress at my next session with Matthew! Thank you BeMo for producing such excellent advisors/instructors like Matthew!” –
Price is an important consideration, but it should not be the number one guiding principle when you are looking for a tutor. Most legitimate prep companies and established tutors can negotiate installments and payment plans to fit your needs.
At BeMo, we’ve helped thousands of students around the world prepare for their MCAT and subsequent steps needed to secure your spot and success in medical school. Our experts have completed rigorous, standardized training to ensure that we provide the same expert advice, tools, and recommendations to our students that are proven to work—while still tailoring them to each individual’s needs. We absolutely believe in our products and services, which is why we’re the only prep company that provides both a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a Get In or Your Money Back® guarantee.
While most MCAT tutors cannot prove that their methods work, here at BeMo, we have data to back the efficacy of our products and services. Medical school admissions have become very competitive over the past several years with the chance of admission as low as 1%! We are proud of our 93.5% success rate for students working in our Platinum or Titanium programs. BeMo has over five thousand independent reviews on .
Not sure if BeMo is right for your MCAT tutoring? We provide every student with a free initial consultation, giving you the opportunity to speak with us face-to-face and to learn about how we can best help you in your journey at no cost. Check out our blog to
1. When should I start MCAT tutoring?
If you are just beginning to prepare for the MCAT and it is your first time taking the exam, this may not be the best time to get a tutor. If you have sufficient time to prepare, i.e. between 3-6 months, why not see how studying on your own goes first? will depend, in part, on how much knowledge you have retained from your introductory pre-med courses. As you study, if you see consistent improvement in your MCAT score, and are able to work towards your goal score without a tutor, then you can just carry on! If you have started studying and you are not seeing improvement in your practice exams, or your score is still below your target, continuing to study in the same way for several more months may not be an effective approach. If you are stuck in a rut, this is a great time to look into getting an MCAT tutor.
2. If I am retaking the MCAT, should I get a tutor?
If you have taken the MCAT already and you are having trouble identifying why your score is not where you want it to be or why your score is not improving, a tutor can be helpful. If you have previously spent months preparing for the MCAT and have already given it your all, repeating the same study strategies for several more months and expecting different results is not the best use of your time. Take the initiative to get a different perspective through an MCAT tutor, which will be helpful in revealing weaknesses that you have not previously considered. In addition, a tutor can provide new study techniques to take your score to the next level. If you are retaking the MCAT and are not happy with your previous scores, this is the time to use every resource at your disposal.
3. Should non-traditional applicants get an MCAT tutor?
If you have been out of school for a while or did not take the traditional , you may be feeling behind in your MCAT preparation – and possibly overwhelmed. If you are a non-traditional medical school applicant, you may also have a busy schedule with family and work commitments and limited time to study. In this case, getting personalized MCAT guidance can be extremely beneficial. Seek out custom guidance for your unique situation with an expert MCAT tutor who can help you make the most of your MCAT preparation and help you feel like you are not tackling your preparation alone!
4. Should I do one-on-one tutoring or find a study group instead?
If you are considering a study group instead of a tutor, you need to be honest with yourself as to what type of environment will allow you to focus and learn best. If you enjoy studying with others and can stay productive within a study group, this may be a good option for you. While study groups may be fun, they are often less efficient. Group members tend to have different levels of understanding, may study at different speeds, and typically have different learning styles. If you want some outside help for your MCAT prep, but you find that you cannot stay focused in a group setting, a tutor is a better option for you. An MCAT tutor will ensure that the entire study session is productive and focused on your specific needs.
5. Is it worth it to get a tutor for just one MCAT section, such as CARS?
It is important to remember that each section of the MCAT makes up ¼ of your overall MCAT score. If you are preparing for the MCAT and you find that your score is lower for a particular section, you may be wondering if it is worth it to get a tutor to bring up your score for just that section. Some medical schools put an emphasis on certain MCAT sections, such as CARS, but in general, all medical schools will view a balanced score more highly than an imbalanced score. Therefore, it is important to aim to do equally well in every section. If you feel that you need a tutor to help you achieve this, don’t ignore that feeling. Consistency across every section of the MCAT shows your ability to think critically and to reason in many different content areas. You want to guarantee that you have done all that you can to demonstrate this ability when you sit down to take the MCAT. Everyone is good at something or even a few things, but it is rare to be good at everything. For this reason, if you feel you need help with a section in order to improve, work with an MCAT tutor to reach your goal.
6. I’ve always done well on my own, why should I get help now?
Sometimes we are hesitant to seek help because we fear it means that we are not good enough. The MCAT will be unlike any other exam you have ever taken. Our “” blog will break down exactly why this test is unique and why it is a challenge even for the best students. This exam is designed to test exceptional students. If you have done well on exams in the past, but feel yourself struggling to prepare for the MCAT, be honest with yourself and consider if a tutor is needed. Remember, it is OK to ask for help!
7. Will an MCAT tutor save me time?
If you’re aiming for a top MCAT score, you are also likely someone who places a great deal of importance on your time. Being unprepared for an MCAT test and needing to retake it is not the best use of your time. Although it may become necessary to do so, you should aim to use your time more effectively by avoiding a retake at all costs. After acing your MCAT, you can then focus your time on other aspects of your medical school applications, such as your your or sketch, and , rather than having to spend your time studying to retake the MCAT. If you use a tutor to achieve success on the MCAT on your first try, then you are setting yourself up to use the months after your MCAT to the fullest!
8. When should I take the MCAT?
The simple answer is that you should take the MCAT when you feel 100% ready to do so. How can you gauge if you are ready? As you study, take note of how you are scoring on full-length practice tests. Continue to study as long as your scores continue to improve. If your MCAT score stabilizes, it is a good idea to take the exam, as long as that score range is acceptable to you. Alternatively, when you consistently score in the 90th percentile or above at least 3 times in a row, you can be confident that you are ready for the real thing! For further insights, review our blog "".
9. Should I retake the MCAT?
This will depend on your current score and how much time you have before applying to medical school. You should also consider if you have been improving on your practice tests or whether your score has plateaued. You should also reflect on what could be the cause of the unsatisfactory score. Perhaps you need to improve only one or two of the MCAT sections, or you need to work on your test-taking abilities. If you cannot pinpoint the source of your struggle, perhaps it would be a good idea to turn to a tutor.
10. Can I get into medical school with a low MCAT?
11. Is it worth getting a tutor for the MCAT?
The MCAT is a very challenging exam, so hiring an MCAT tutor can definitely be worth it. For students who want the best possible test prep help, who want to achieve a high MCAT score or are applying to a very competitive medical school, doing well on the MCAT can significantly boost your chances of success. Getting professional MCAT tutoring can increase your shot of scoring well on the MCAT.
12. What is the best MCAT tutoring?
There are many MCAT tutoring services out there to choose from, so it can be challenging to find the best. The best quality MCAT tutoring will provide concrete study strategies, practice questions and exams, one-on-one, personalized help and feedback on your answers. Look for an MCAT tutor that offers quality instruction and has favorable reviews.