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Blueprint vs Altius MCAT
An honest comparison of the MCAT prep courses from Blueprint and Altius
Trying to decide between the MCAT review courses from Blueprint and Altius can be tough, especially with their high price tags and the importance of your MCAT score to your med school applications. In short, this is a decision you need to get right. In this detailed comparison guide, we cover our thoughts on each course, as well as which types of learners would benefit from the differing features and teaching styles.
Given that this is a lengthy comparison, we’ve included helpful jump-to links above for easy and quick navigation.
Video Review: Blueprint Or Altius?
In the above video, TPI team member John covers the highlights and lowlights of each prep course, as well as how they directly compare. For more detail, be sure to continue reading our full written MCAT prep course comparison below.
To most effectively compare these two MCAT prep options, we’ve broken down our analysis by which category each company wins. Here is our breakdown of how these courses stack up across the major features, starting with where Blueprint wins.
Core Curriculum & Content Review
Though a close call, at the end of the day, our team gives the nod to Blueprint. While both companies offer robust sets of coursework that cover every nook and cranny of content review, it’s Blueprint’s course structure that wins out.
Their course is smartly organized into integrated and highly streamlined learning modules, which each incorporate a short video lesson, quiz, assigned reading, and assessment.
This approach allows you to tackle individual subtopics from multiple perspectives and gain a deep understating before moving on to the next subject.
MCAT Video Lessons
Without a doubt, Blueprint provides the best video lessons in MCAT prep. Their videos are packed with animated visualizations of chemical processes and physical systems, striking graphics, and sharp instructor delivery.
In addition, the content is on point. The video lessons are housed across 160 or so bite-sized learning modules, making them highly digestible and boosting material retention in our opinion.
For truly visual learners, Blueprint is your best bet (not just over Altius, but maybe across all MCAT prep companies). This isn’t to imply the Altius video lectures are bad – not by a long shot. It’s just not one their strengths though.
MCAT Prep Books
We unanimously agreed as a team on this one. There is no doubt that Blueprint offers better prep books. And this is largely based on the comprehensiveness of their written materials. Blueprint’s prep books are even better than those from Kaplan and Princeton Review.
Blueprint provides 6 hardcopy prep books that cover the primary MCAT subjects, including Psychology & Sociology, Physics, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry & Organic Chemistry, and CARS. These books are packed with impactful graphics and key point callout boxes, and they’re just plain well-written.
This is in comparison to Altius’ lone “student study manual.” To be fair, the Altius prep book is a bible-type publication with everything contained in one place. But it just doesn’t offer nearly the value that Blueprint’s books do.
Digital Platform / User Experience
Although Altius’ online platform and digital assets are more than serviceable, this just isn’t their strength. Their highlights revolve around the human side of MCAT prep – small group live class sessions, 1-on-1 mentoring and live review sessions.
Blueprint, on the other hand, makes user experience a key component of their course. Their digital platform is sleek, responsive and plain cool. No arguing this one, Blueprint wins.
Now that you have a good idea of the areas in which Blueprint wins, let’s turn the tables and discuss the major advantages of using Altius to help you prepare for the MCAT.
MCAT Practice Questions & Tests
I just mentioned that video lessons are not one of Altius’ core competencies. Well, practice tests are. In our team’s opinion, Altius’ MCAT practice tests are about the best in the space.
They’ve used some really high-end software to analyze official MCAT problems by word count, difficulty, length, and more, and used that info to reverse engineer some fantastic practice questions.
They’re highly realistic and closely replicate the real thing. This is especially helpful if you struggle with a particular content area, like physics for example.
To be clear, the Blueprint MCAT practice tests are rock solid as well. Their mock exams were crafted by the Next Step group (acquired by Blueprint a few years back), and that was one of their specialties, so you know these tests are good. But it’s just hard to beat Altius here.
Practice Problem Explanations
Though a close call, Altius gets the slight edge in the practice problem explanation department.
Their answer solutions are insightful, super comprehensive, and written in an easy to understand manner. And when combined with their mentorship program to review practice test and quiz results, it is a truly effective combination.
Their major saving grace for Blueprint, however, is the sample highlighting for passage-based problems. For problems that follow a long text passage, Blueprint shows you exactly where you should have focused your highlighting and strike-through for the best results.
Live MCAT Classes
This is another VERY close call, though we give the nod to Altius, mainly for their small class sizes. Depending on your course option, Altius provides somewhere between 60 to 200 hours of class time, all capped in classes of just 6-8 students.
We loved these live classes, and found them to be highly valuable. Our class was taught by two former Altius students who had scored in the 95th and 97th percentiles on the MCAT, and they really knew their stuff – as well as how to communicate it.
Blueprint’s classes were also first rate though. They too use a combo of two instructors per class, who play off each other and do an excellent job communicating Blueprint’s top tier curriculum.
Content Access Period
We always love judging this category because it so cut and dry. Altius provides 12 months of access to their online materials and prep program, while Blueprint offers just 6 months.
Six months should be plenty of study time for most students, but if you plan to study for longer than that, take note. To be fair, Blueprint does give students the option to extend the content access period for an additional fee.
Pricing & Course Options
Who wins this category really comes down to which type of course you’re after and whether there is a discount running. Blueprint offers four packages: a self-paced online course for roughly $2,000, a live class course for around $2,600, their 515+ course that includes 80+ hours of live instruction and a 515 score guarantee for around $3,500, and finally, tutoring packages that starts around $3,600.
On the flip side, you’ve got Altius who offers a self-paced course for just $1,000, but then has their more premium courses starting at around $3,000 and going up from there.
Honestly, I wouldn’t even consider the self-paced program from Altius – the Blueprint on demand package blows it out of the water. The real value with Altius is their 1-on-1 mentoring and small group live classes, which you don’t get with the self-paced course.
So when considering the more comparable live online packages from both companies, Blueprint seems to get the edge as only Altius’ base package matches its pricing.
However, Altius is much more aggressive with discounts and you can often find their packages on sale for $800 off, making this category a tie.
Score Increase Guarantees
Both companies offer rock solid, money back higher score guarantees, which we were happy to see. This is a great indication of a company’s confidence in its materials, as well as a decent insurance policy.
Though a close call on many fronts, our team gives the nod to Blueprint in this comparison.
Though we love Altius’ small group live classes, weekly dedicated 1:1 time with a mentor, and realistic practice tests, Blueprint is simply too strong of a course.
Their superior video lessons, smart coursework structure, deep prep books, and strong live online classes simply win the day. If there was a larger disparity in price or Altius’ on demand video lectures a bit better, the outcome may be different.
But ultimately we just feel Blueprint is the better overall course, especially for visual learners.