Should I go with the Altius MCAT prep option?
I think the Altius MCAT prep course is somewhat unique in its offerings, which is why I’m reviewing just Altius in this post…
Altius MCAT Prep is available in several cities in Utah, as well as Portland and Corvallis, Oregon; Pullman, Washington; Moscow, Idaho; Lawrence, Kansas; and Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri. Since it’s a relatively small company compared to Kaplan and Princeton Review, most pre-med students are going to cross Altius off their list. However, the company boasts that many of its students enroll for short courses and move temporarily to the city where the Altius course is being offered. That sounds a little ridiculous, but to be honest, Altius offers one of the best courses for the money I’ve come across. I happen to know several students who’ve enrolled in the program and were more than satisfied with it.
I think the Altius MCAT prep course is somewhat unique in its offerings, which is why I’m reviewing just Altius in this post!
Gold, Silver, etc…
Like Kaplan, Altius has a few options for courses. The “Silver Affordable 1-on-1 MCAT Mentoring” option includes 32 classroom sessions, 12 one-on-one tutoring sessions, 16 “Study Hall Sessions” and 32 “Problem-Based Group Sessions” plus a full set of its own prep books (and 10 tests), some AAMC test prep books and all AAMC practices tests currently available. In my opinion, what sets Altius apart is its emphasis on one-on-one interaction between student and tutor. Like other companies, tutors are obligated to make themselves available to you 24/7 for whatever you need, but unlike other programs, one-on-one tutoring sessions are built into the course (you get to set the schedule), so that you’re far more likely to actually take advantage of the insights your private tutor has to offer. There are some other extras thrown in. With the superior tests and tutoring option, this program comes with a price tag comparable to other test companies: $2,299.
Altius also offers some other pretty heady options: an Gold package, which includes everything in the Silver package, but includes 10 additional one-on-one tutoring sessions plus 16 “Mastery Sessions.” The price for the Gold option is $2,999.
A third option (“Platinum Best MCAT Mentoring Program Ever Created!”) is truly a premium one, and the price tag matches: $4,299. It includes all of the Gold program options, plus an added 20 hours of one-on-one tutoring. Also thrown in are 16 additional “Platinum-Only Review Sessions” and a “Silver Admissions Package” worth $299, to help you with your admissions packet, all the way through acceptance to med school!
As with the other MCAT prep companies, Altius MCAT Prep offers an option for studiers to get their whole program online in either real-time classrooms, or sitting in sweats in front of a computer at anytime of the day or night. You may want to consider your most typical study habits before you decide your ideal option with any prep company.
Intense Summer Altius MCAT Prep
There must be a fairly dense concentration of pre-meds in Utah, because Altius also offers an 8-week summer immersion course, which crams in a full year of prep and all of what comes with the Dual Focus Program. This ranges in price from $2,999 to $4,499. The idea is: putting off MCAT study pays off in this case since you’re able to isolate yourself in one study location and get it done in 10 weeks flat!
One on one tutoring
Since I’ve heard some first-hand feedback from Altius MCAT Prep enrollees with whom I am close friends, I can offer a little extra for this review. Each person I’ve discussed the program with came away very pleased with the one-on-one tutoring time, and especially with how encouraging the tutors were and how much they made themselves available. Apparently, the tutors are paid more when their students score higher on the test, so it’s in their interest to help you as much as they can.
The only downside, from what I can tell, is the prep material. My roommate took the course and let me flip through the materials and I found them similar to prep materials I was using from Examkrackers and the Berkeley Review, both of which I used in my MCAT prep (and both of which my roommate asked to borrow, to supplement his preparation). In my later investigation, I found more to like with the Kaplan and Princeton Review’s MCAT prep material, and I recommend the same thing I recommend to anyone: go to Amazon.com and buy books and prep materials that fit your learning style and unique needs. You can get them cheap there, and for a lot of people it makes all the difference. To see the differences in the competing sets, check out our review of MCAT books here.
Final thoughts on Altius MCAT prep…
I’d say if you’re one of the few with an Altius MCAT prep course happening nearby, you should seriously consider taking it. Their stats for passage and good scores are veryyy impressive (graduates average in the 88th-95th percentile). If you’re the type who benefits from lots of one-on-one attention, Altius is probably ideal. Having someone with whom you’ve built a personal relationship tutoring and encouraging you along the way definitely makes MCAT prep more endurable, and for those times when there’s nothing in the world you wouldn’t rather do than crack open that book, sometimes a drill sergeant, so to speak, is the only thing that’ll snap you back into real
ity. On the other hand, if you’re looking for outstanding online tools, you might want to look into Kaplan or TPR (click here for my review), both of which have strong web platforms for students to use.
A final note: Altius is capitalizing on its knowledge of the new post-2015 MCAT: showing a greater emphasis on conceptual thinking rather than on rote memorization. The company promotes its smaller groups, attention to detail and the attentiveness of tutors. It’s a unique combination, and one that seems to work for lots of MCAT preppers.
Full-Length Practice Tests
Altius MCAT Prep has 10 customized tests that approximate the MCAT, selling in a set for $300. That’s not a bad deal, as it can cost twice that much for far fewer tests from other companies, and Altius tests are seen as some pretty valuable MCAT prep.
If you decide to order the set of 10, you can use the Premedfaq.com coupon code (link to come) for a $50 discount!
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