I have been shopping around for a little while trying to find the best test prep course options and am having trouble deciding which will prepare me the best for the test. Based on the research I have done so far, Kaplan and Princeton Review are good options for comprehensively preparing you for the exam and seem to be known for having a curriculum that overprepares you so that you feel very confident going into the test. The one downside for me was that their courses are group settings and I prefer one-on-one tutoring. I then looked at Next Step, which provides one-on-one tutoring but is newer in comparison to Kaplan and Princeton Review and thus might not have as comprehensive a curriculum. I would love to know if anyone has advice/recommendations either for online courses or for MCAT tutors that do one-on-one (either in-person or via Skype).
Thanks so much for your question! It seems like you’ve already put a lot of thought into how to prepare for the MCAT, which is great; with an exam this dense, it’s good to have a solid strategy. I took the MCAT this past summer and prepared for it with a class through The Princeton Review (TPR). My experience was overall positive since they provided in-depth content review, strategies, and access to practice exams, both through TPR itself and the AAMC. The class was fairly small (10 people) but as you mentioned, it’s taught in a group setting which may not be the best environment for some people to learn.
In terms of options besides an in-person classroom, both TPR and Kaplan have “self-paced” and “online” classes which you could consider, since you will have the opportunity to learn at your own pace while also having access to instructors. Other companies, like ExamKrackers, also have these online options. One of the biggest decisions here is whether or not you want an instructor you could meet with in person, which an online class may not be able to provide. Speaking from personal experience, the Psych/Soc section of TPR’s class was online, and it worked out well; a chat option on the side of the screen was provided where you (or any other student attending the class) could ask the instructor immediate questions about the material, and there was a way to download the lectures to look back at them later.
If you still wanted to go with TPR or Kaplan, since you consider them to be good options, they do offer private tutoring:
A drawback here could be cost, since private tutoring is usually more expensive than the online or group classroom settings, but if you have the means, this seems like the best of both worlds in terms of a comprehensive curriculum as well as someone to be there for any questions you may have while studying.
Although TPR and Kaplan are well-known companies for test prep, you definitely have the option of finding a tutor near where you live (for example, using https://www.universitytutor.com/) and just buying the set of books from TPR, Kaplan, or NextStep – those can be just as comprehensive as a class itself. No matter where you buy them from, you should be able to supplement the material with what you’ve learned here at Michigan.
One of the most important things besides learning the material is just to make sure you have plenty of practice questions, because the way the MCAT tests your knowledge largely comes from passages, a question style we don’t see a lot in our normal classes. So whether you find a tutor from a company or from around your neighborhood, make sure you’re reviewing the material on your own and have resources you can use to practice!