July 8th, 2008 Jamie
Studying for (and taking) the MCAT is definitely one of the biggest hurdles any pre-med student faces, so it’s no wonder students put it off. It’s big, it’s important, and it’s intimidating! Who wants to deal with that?
Once you’ve finished breathing into a paper bag, though, you’re probably going to want to study. Remember to give yourself ample time to prepare (I’d say 6 months is ideal during school… sorry!) so you can take your study time in segments. Here are a few MCAT study options:
Maybe it’s because they made you hand over $210 to take the MCAT, or maybe it’s just philanthropic, but either way, the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) offers a free MCAT Practice website. Just enter your email address and you get access to a database of 1000 previously used MCAT questions and solutions, sample essays, and other helpful tools. Kaplan also offers a free practice MCAT.
Of course, the AAMC is not above selling you practice tests, either. $35/ea for 1 year of access. If you plan to sign up for a study course these will probably be included.
Books, Books, Books
There are a huge number of study guides for the MCAT out there, so if you feel comfortable learning from a book this could be a good option for you. They can be helpful, and cost much less than taking a prep course. Check out Kaplan’s MCAT 2007-08 Premier Program or Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package, which both got good customer feedback on Amazon-or head over to your local bookstore and flip through some study guides to get a feel for what you need.
Price: The books listed above are about $80 each
Tutoring & Classroom Courses
Tutoring and other MCAT prep courses can be expensive, but they can also be very worthwhile (if you’re willing to put in the effort). Several well-known test prep centers offer MCAT prep courses. Princeton Review’s MCAT Courses allow you to choose between private tutoring, group tutoring, or a classroom course. Kaplan’s MCAT Courses offers all those options, plus the option of completely online MCAT prep (great if you have a weird or changing schedule).
Entry Filed under: grad school