The self-paced MCAT: best option?
On this website, we’ve addressed lots of different ways you can prep for the MCAT.
—You can take Princeton Review or Kaplan, or one of many assorted courses for the months leading up to end of junior year or the summer immediately after junior year. Here’s a review of Kaplan vs. Princeton Review.
—You can choose the option of self-study, using one or more sets of books. Check out our review of several MCAT prep book sets here.
—Or you can do a hybrid of the two, signing up for a self-paced MCAT course through Kaplan or The Princeton Review. Both companies offer this option, which allows you to start anytime, go as long as you want, and have full access to all study materials online, any time of day or night.
Why go self-paced MCAT?
Why go the self-paced route? It could be the best option for you if you like solitary study, or if you get distracted in a classroom full of students. It’s also liberating: there are no tutors, no class time, and no scheduled study sessions.
The self-study course costs less than a live class, meaning you can save some cash for other expenses like interview and application fees. Taking a live online class costs about the same as an in-person class ($2,299), while the self-paced option, simply by not being “live,” costs $300 less, or $1,999.
You’ll get hundreds of hours of pre-recorded videos featuring the exam company’s instructors, which you can watch when you want, in the order you want, and rewind and/or repeat sections if needed. You’ll have access to the same online resources as with the live classes, including practice exams, a bank of helpful study materials and live advisors. Both companies 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-free, you can add more study materials, more interactive content, and even personal coaching.
Earlier start; more time
If you’re anxious to begin your MCAT prep, the self-paced MCAT option 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 plan to leave plenty of time on school breaks or at the end of Winter semester to give extra time to the sections that are most challenging to you.
Also, with self-paced MCAT, you can supplement your study materials with books from other companies that excel in certain areas, like Biology or Ochem. (See our link above.)
What’s the downside with self-paced MCAT?
The drawbacks to the MCAT self-study approach are 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 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: