Which MCAT Prep Course is Best?

Every pre-med student starting their junior year knows what intimidating, stress-inducing exam is looming right around the corner: the MCAT. I remember winter break of my junior year; so many hours were spent googling random questions about this huge test that would seemingly dictate the rest of my future. When should I take my MCAT? How long should I study for my MCAT? How do I even begin to study for a test as big and daunting as the MCAT? If I could go back in time and save my confused, anxious self lots of time and energy, I would introduce her to MCAT Self Prep.

Are MCAT Prep Companies Legit?

These days, so many different test-prep companies try to flaunt their MCAT courses and the “guaranteed 510+” scores their students generate. However, the unfortunate reality is that the majority of these companies are just trying to profit off your desperation for help and guidance in what at-first appears to be an arduous studying process. MCAT Self Prep, thankfully, offers an abundance of MCAT resources to pre-med students at absolutely no cost. I loved using MCAT Self Prep to study for my MCAT because it was a lifesaver for content review, it provided me with structure, and I was able to see my progress as I studied for over four months.

The MCAT is a monster of a test; four years of undergraduate curriculum are crammed into one seven hour test, making for a wide variety of possible testing material. I found this extremely overwhelming at first, and didn’t know where to begin my content review when it felt like I wasn’t even making a dent in all the information I was expected to know. 

The MCAT Self Prep Difference

MCAT Self Prep is a single online destination where you can review all material that might be on the exam in their free e-course. Not only does the website have distinct sections for each topic, ranging from biochemistry and physics to psychology and sociology, but each topic is further broken down into 24 lessons. Select just one lesson to start working on, and you’re provided with a whole playlist of YouTube videos covering that topic in great detail. If you watch all the videos and it still isn’t clicking in your head, they also tell you the exact corresponding page numbers that cover the material in common test-prep books like Kaplan and Princeton Review. When I started my content review, I knew I would need to dedicate a large amount of time to relearning the physics I and II I had already forgotten from undergrad. I went through each and every unit of MCAT Self Prep’s Physics material, and, come test day, my Chem/Phys score was the highest score on my test. I can confidently say that I would not have scored as well on my exam if I hadn’t used MCAT Self Prep’s resources.

Aside from the sheer volume of information on their website, I also really appreciated the structure that I found by using MCAT Self Prep. Right away, they give you very clear and precise instructions, starting with taking a practice exam to gauge where you’re at. Watching Andrew’s videos helped me allocate designated amounts of time to content review, practice problems, and even practice exams. I was able to calculate how much time to spend on each unit, given the four months of studying I had outlined for myself. 

Along with the various planning benefits I enjoyed, I also found his directions regarding the AAMC practice material immensely helpful. I knew it was incredibly important to test myself using questions from the same company that writes the MCAT itself, but I didn’t know exactly how to go about implementing these practice problems. Do I practice an entire question bank at once, or should I do just five questions each day? Thankfully, MCAT Self Prep showed me precisely how to break up the AAMC practice questions for continuous and ongoing practice, in a way such that I didn’t run out of practice too soon before my exam, but also wasn’t cramming in questions the day before my test. During a time when students already have so many other things on their mind – writing their personal statement, acquiring letters of recommendation, looking for shadowing and volunteer opportunities – the last thing they want to be spending time on is dividing up how many practice questions to tackle each day. MCAT Self Prep took care of one less thing for me to stress about, and I sincerely appreciated their guidance.

Lastly, MCAT Self Prep allowed me to track my progress over the weeks and months I spent preparing for the exam. While the majority of MCAT Self Prep’s resources are free to the public, they do also offer some supplemental course for those who are interested. Personally, one thing I struggled with during the early phases of my MCAT prep was figuring out a concrete, day-by-day study plan. I needed to know what I would be reviewing on which days and for how long, or I knew my studying wouldn’t be nearly as effective. As a result, I purchased MCAT Self Prep’s “Create Your Own Study Plan” course for less than $10, and I’m so glad I did. Their Excel spreadsheet is far and away better than anything I could have attempted to make on my own, and I didn’t have to spend hours creating one. The two aspects I appreciated the most were the weekly study timeline – allowing me to map out my week of studying and accumulate the hours I completed along the way – as well as the score progress page, where I could visually see how far I’ve come since starting this process, and how close I was to reaching my goal score. 

Overall, I cannot recommend MCAT Self Prep enough. Any pre-med student who is looking to achieve their dream score should check out their website before deciding to shell out hundreds or even thousands of dollars at some other test-prep company. Studying for the MCAT is by no means a fun or simple task to accomplish; it takes grit, consistency, and commitment to a long process. However, MCAT Self Prep helps to lessen the burden on students by providing amazing resources at zero cost. Thanks to their help, I was able to score above the 95th percentile on my exam, an accomplishment that my fearful and worried junior-year self would have never thought possible.

Good luck studying!

– Jennifer


For more MCAT Tips:

Sign up for our free weekly MCAT newsletter

Sign up for our affordable elite MCAT tutoring.

Sign up for our FREE MCAT Prep Course.

Follow us on:


MCAT Prep Course - MCAT Tutor
MCAT Prep Course - MCAT Questions
MCAT Prep Course - MCAT CARS
MCAT Prep Course - MCAT Behavioral Science

How we Matched up the Khan Academy Passages with the eCourse Lessons

Each lesson of the eCourse contains links to 1 to 5 Khan Academy science passages for the purpose of providing you with non-AAMC material to practice your science passage reading skills on. By completing all the linked passages within every lesson, you will have finished all the freely available Khan Academy science passages.

To match up the Khan Academy Science Passages with the eCourse lessons, we carefully examined the passage and question content of each one. Then we decided which lesson of the eCourse best correlated with that content. You may notice that some passages don’t match up perfectly with the current lesson. If they don’t match up with the current lesson, they should match up with one of the previous lessons in the module. We did this carefully so that you could practice your science passage reading skills on passages that contain the content you’ve already learned.

Why we don’t recommend non-AAMC CARS practice questions

We recommend practicing CARS by reading non-AAMC CARS passages but not doing the associated practice problems. The reason we don’t recommend doing the practice problems is because the MCAT is written by the AAMC. They have a very unique style in which they write CARS practice questions that third-party companies (try as they might) are unable to replicate. When students spend time on non-AAMC CARS practice problems, they get familiar with the wrong style of questioning, leading them to overthink and incorrectly respond to the questions written by the AAMC. Thus, it is in your best interest to solely practice on AAMC CARS practice questions.

That said, we highly recommend practicing your reading skills on non-AAMC CARS passages. In our Ultimate CARS Strategy Course, we provide you with 1,000 free CARS passages and 100+ homework assignments, giving you ample material to practice on. Reading countless passages while practicing the proper reading habits and strategies will prepare you well to conquer the CARS section as it was written by the AAMC.

Which books do the lessons match up with?

The books we use in each lesson are linked below. We plan to stick with these older editions of the books since very little has changed and the older editions are much more affordable:

First Edition of the Kaplan 7-book Series
First Edition of the Princeton 7-book Series

Do the chapters match up perfectly?

The Kaplan Books, Princeton Books, and Khan Academy Videos were all produced by different authors. For this reason, there are some chapters in the Kaplan Book or Princeton Book that are not even found in the Khan Academy Videos and vice versa. For instance, the Kaplan and Princeton Books have chapters that cover certain experimental procedures that the Khan Academy Videos do not cover.

Our goal in matching up the books with the videos was to correlate the content as best as possible while also covering ALL the content from every resource. For this reason, when nothing in the Kaplan Books matched up with one of the video playlists, instead of leaving the reading assignment for Kaplan blank, we inserted material that did not fit in anywhere else (i.e. one of those chapters on an experimental procedure that was not covered by Khan Academy). So, when the assignment doesn’t appear to match up right, please know that this was intentional.

*If you follow the reading assignments outlined, you will finish the entire Kaplan 7-book series and/or Princeton 7-book series by the time you finish all 10 content modules.

Do the sections match up perfectly?

If the sections assigned in our eCourse do not match up with the sections contained in your content review book, you may have a different edition. The sections should still match up the large majority of the time, but in the rare instance that they don’t, I’d recommend simply reading sections that do match up and saving the ones that do not for a future lesson.

MCAT Launchpad Required!

Before jumping into our free eCourse, you’ll need to complete orientation by watching MCAT Launchpad. During this free 35-minute intro session with Head Tutor Andrew, you’ll learn 6 Keys to Earning a Top MCAT Score, the 5 Essential Elements of an Effective Study Plan, 12 Tips for Taking the Best MCAT Study Notes, and more! Andrew will also provide you with a detailed overview of the Free MCAT Prep Course, teaching you how to get started.

Are you sure you want to skip today's special offer?

You will forfeit your 30% off coupon by continuing with Free Forever.

Save 20% off select tutors for this month only!  Save on Tutoring