The self-paced MCAT prep class: smart option?
On this website, we’ve assembled lots of advice to help you choose the best MCAT prep route:
1. You can study on your own, using one or more book sets. Check out our review of several top MCAT prep book sets here.
2. You can take an MCAT prep course in the 2-3 months leading up to end of junior year.
3. You can sign up for a course in the summer immediately after junior year. This will put you slightly past the date when applications open, for when you receive your MCAT score. (If you do decide to take a course, here’s a review of Kaplan vs. Princeton Review, two top rated courses.)
4. Or…you can do a hybrid of options 2 and 3, signing up for a self-paced MCAT prep class through Kaplan or The Princeton Review. Both companies offer this option. Signing up for the self-paced MCAT prep class allows you to start your studies anytime, stretch it out as long as you want, and have full access to all study materials online, any time of the day or night.
Why take a self-paced MCAT prep class?
Why go the self-paced route? It could be the best option for you if you
(1) like solitary study, or
(2) if you get distracted in a classroom full of students.
(3) It’s also liberating: there are no tutors, no class time, and no scheduled study sessions.
(4) The self-paced MCAT prep class also costs less than a live class, meaning you can save cash for other expenses like application fees and travel for interviews. The self-paced MCAT prep class, simply by not being “live,” costs $1,999. Taking a live online class, and taking an in-person class both cost around $300 more ($2,299 or $2,499, depending on the prep company).
With a self-paced MCAT prep class, you’ll get hundreds of hours of pre-recorded videos featuring the MCAP prep company’s instructors. It’s slightly more “chill,” since you can watch the videos when you want, in the order you want, and you can even rewind or repeat sections if needed. You’ll get the same online resources as if you took a live class, including practice exams, a bank of helpful study materials and live advisors. Both Kaplan and The Princeton Review offer a “higher score guarantee” which allows you to take the class again at no additional cost within 2-3 months of your first attempt. For a slight up-fee, you can add more study materials, more interactive content, and even personal coaching if you need it.
Earlier start; more time
If you’re anxious to begin your MCAT prep, the self-paced MCAT prep class offers you the chance to spread your study across several months’ time. Rather that waiting until the end of junior year, you can start absorbing essential materials now, and get the content under your belt earlier. That way, you can still leave plenty of time on school breaks or at the end of Winter semester to give you extra time to devote to the sections that are most challenging.
With the self-paced MCAT prep option—as with other MCAT prep courses—I always recommend that you supplement your study materials with books from other companies that excel in certain areas, like Biology or Ochem. (See our link above.)
Is there a downside with a self-paced MCAT prep class?
The main drawback to the MCAT self-study approach is obvious: if you don’t have a set schedule for attending classes, you’ll have to motivate yourself to come up with a study schedule. If you’re self-motivated and distraction-free, this may not be an obstacle for you.
If you want to get started this semester, check out the two best self-paced MCAT prep classes: Kaplan and Princeton Review. They both offer premedFAQ discounts, so make sure to use our links here, or on our main page.
Now’s the time to make a plan and decide if the self-paced MCAT class option is right for you. If it is, there’s no time like the present to get started!
Check out these other MCAT prep-related posts: