To attend medical school in the United States, you must take an assortment of prerequisite courses while in pursuit of an undergraduate degree and also take the Medical College Admission Test. Studying for the MCAT is time-consuming, since most medical schools admit students with a total compiled score of around 30 or above on this exam. A variety of companies offer prep classes for the MCAT, but few are consistently ranked among the best by both former test-takers and medical school admissions boards.
The Princeton Review MCAT Hyperlearning Course
The Hyperlearning course offered by "The Princeton Review" offers the most in-class MCAT preparation in the industry, with 42 in-class sessions and 20 extra office hours, for a total of 105 hours of instruction. A group of 3 to 5 trained and certified instructors work together to guide students through the material. The program provides 11 full-length practice exams in addition to eight official AAMC practice MCATs. "The Princeton Review" offers a higher score guarantee, and unsatisfied participants are permitted to retake the Hyperlearning course anytime within a year of the first session. Tuition for the Hyperlearning course is $1,999, as of 2011.
Kaplan MCAT Advantage
Kaplan touts itself as "the nation's most popular prep choice for the MCAT." The MCAT Advantage program offers 24 in-class instructional sessions spread over 54 hours, with 32 hours devoted to testing. The MCAT Advantage program's major selling points are its convenient schedules, devoted personal attention in a group setting, and comprehensive, motivational instruction from its renowned instructors. Kaplan also offers you a higher score guarantee, but you must repeat the course within two to three months. Tuition for the MCAT Advantage in-class program is $1999 as of 2011.
The Berkeley Review
While other prep classes are offered by companies that train students to take a variety of entrance exams such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, DCAT and MCAT, The Berkeley Review specializes only in MCAT preparation. Most instructors for the course program are full-time instructors with the company and have been teaching professionally for at least two years at the university level. TBR provides 50 two-hour lectures for a total of 100 hours of instruction, in addition to 300-500 office hours and 9 full-length practice exams that are administered online. Tuition for the program, held at 6 locations only in California, is $1725 as of 2011.
Examkrackers Comprehensive Review
Examkrackers offers live courses on or near college campuses nationwide. Depending on the location, the number of exams for which prep courses are offered varies. Many Examkrackers locations offer classes for the most popular test dates in April and August. The Comprehensive Review runs for nine weeks and includes four two-hour courses a week. Courses are structured to include a 50-minute lecture, a 10-minute break, a 30-minute practice exam and a review of the exam. Examkrackers' courses offer five full-length practice exams, taken directly from actual AAMC material. Tuition for the Examkrackers Comprehensive Review is $1848, as of 2011.
Joetta Charnell became a freelance writer in 2009. Now contributing to various websites, her previous work garnered several awards in writing competitions. Charnell earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in African-American studies and biology, both from the University of Virginia.