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Blueprint vs Magoosh MCAT
In this article we take a close look at the Blueprint and Magoosh MCAT prep courses to see how they stack up
Choosing an MCAT prep course is a major decision as you start your journey towards med school, and you may be torn between Blueprint (formerly Next Step) and Magoosh. On the one hand, Blueprint has awesome video lessons and live classes, but carries a hefty prig tag. On the other, Magoosh has a super attractive price point, but you may be wondering just how effective their prep materials and study plan really are. It’s a tough call – even for our expert team. Luckily, we’ve completed deep reviews of both prep courses and compare them side-by-side in this detailed guide.
After evaluating the courses from both companies, it’s clear both Blueprint and Magoosh excel in different categories. Below find the areas in which our team sees Blueprint winning over Magoosh for MCAT prep.
Blueprint undoubtedly provides the more robust and comprehensive MCAT curriculum. Structuring their material into 160 or so integrated learning modules, the Blueprint MCAT course just has a much more natural flow and design.
Each module covers a subtopic tested on the MCAT, and you work your way through a series of video lessons, drills, practice problems and review sessions.
By the time you finish a module, you feel like you’ve really mastered that topic, and you move on to the next related module covering tangential material.
Essentially, Blueprint guides you through all your necessary study material in a methodical way that really helps with retention.
This is in stark contrast to the Magoosh MCAT coursework, which is solid in its own right, but lacks any real structure. Magoosh designs its course in a very student-driven manner, allowing wide open access to a library of 380+ video lessons and a Qbank with 740+ questions.
While Blueprint tells you exactly what to study and when, Magoosh gives you suggested study topics, but doesn’t hold your hand through your studies.
They are different approaches, but we give the edge to Blueprint – their course is just too comprehensive to deny.
When it comes to the quality of video lessons, Blueprint gets the decisive victory. In fact, Blueprint is known for their video lessons.
They have amazing production value, with sharp graphics, funny cartoon skits and some of the best visualizations of complex processes I’ve seen.
In short, they’re both engaging and highly informative. Magoosh’s videos on the other hand are decent, but can’t even compete in terms of engagement and production value.
While Blueprint uses an onscreen instructor surrounded by graphics and text, Magoosh uses a much more old school approach with a PowerPoint-style slideshow with instructor voiceover.
If there is one thing that is nice about the Magoosh lessons though it’s that they are short and highly digestible.
But in any event, Blueprint’s on demand video lectures are #1 in MCAT prep and easily win this category.
This is another easy win for Blueprint, as Magoosh doesn’t offer books, hardcopy or digital. That said, this is sort of the Magoosh appeal, isn’t it? No lugging around heavy texts and pouring over dense pages.
Everything is 100% online and accessible from anywhere, anytime and on any device. At least, that’s the way Magoosh spins it. I have a slight different feeling on the topic though.
For those students like me that do like prep books, the Blueprint texts are solid. They are well-written, smartly organized and use a ton of great sample problems and illustrations.
They aren’t a highlight of the course like the video lessons, but make for a solid cornerstone of your content review.
Live MCAT Classes
Once again, this is a pretty open and shut case for Blueprint. The company’s live online and 515+ course options offer 40 to 80 hours of live class sessions, and although these are fairly new offerings, they are very strong. This is in opposition to Magoosh, which no longer offers live classes at all.
If you want the commitment and accountability that comes with live classes, or simply learn better in a group environment, Blueprint is going to be the clear choice over Magoosh.
MCAT Practice Questions & Tests
This is an interesting category, as in terms of quantity, Blueprint wins by a mile.
They offer 10,000+ practice questions to Magoosh’s 740 or so, and 15 full-length simulated exams to Magoosh’s 3 tests.
An easy win. But in terms of quality, the race is a little tighter. In the end we give the nod to Blueprint again, but not by much.
Magoosh’s questions are fairly realistic of real MCAT exam questions, and the accompanying answer explanations are strong as well. We love Magoosh’s video explanations that break down problems in detail, and their text explanations offer surprisingly strong descriptions.
But in the end, when considering the overall density, difficulty and content of practice problems, Blueprint practice questions just seem to be a better replication of the real thing (Jack Westin does a decent job with MCAT practice materials as well).
Digital Platform / User Experience
Like most of the other categories I’ve covered here today, user experience and interface is something that Blueprint just does really well. Their digital platform is about the most modern and functional portal in MCAT prep.
It’s clean, responsive and has a great design. This is not to imply that Magoosh’s platform is bad – it’s not at all. In fact, our team loves the Magoosh student dashboard and rates it out higher than both Princeton Review and Kaplan.
For a budget course, this platform is amazingly sleek and modern, with quick load times and aesthetically pleasing designs. It’s just a shade behind Blueprint in our team’s opinion, that’s all.
Now that you understand the areas in which Blueprint wins, let’s turn the tables and discuss the advantages of choosing Magoosh for MCAT prep.
Pricing & Course Options
Pricing is a category that Magoosh wins easily. And honestly, it’s probably the reason why you’re reading this comparison. At less than $400 for their full prep course ($500 for the new premium package with live classes), Magoosh offers INCREDIBLE value.
Compare this to Blueprint’s price points of $2,000-$3,500, and it’s not even close. The strength and quality of the Magoosh coursework is another thing, but for pure affordability, Magoosh wins.
If you need personalized 1-on-1 instruction though, keep in mind that Blueprint does offer different private MCAT tutoring packages.
Content Access Period
In terms of straight content access periods, Magoosh gets the easy win. Blueprint provides 6 months of access to their MCAT study materials, while Magoosh gives 12 months of access with their standard plans.
Obviously 12 > 6, so on paper, Magoosh wins. Though I would just note that for many students, 6 months should be plenty of study time. But if your study plans are going to be drawn out, Magoosh might offer the better option.
To be fair, Blueprint does give students the option to extend the content access period, but that does cost extra.
Did someone say +10 point score increase guarantee? That’s not Blueprint we’re talking about, it’s Magoosh. Despite being the budget option with a curriculum that isn’t quite as deep, Magoosh backs up its prep with a +10 point guarantee.
That’s in comparison to Blueprint’s straight guarantee, meaning they guarantee you’ll score at least one point better (same story with Kaplan and Princeton Review). Blueprint does offer a 515 score guarantee with their premium course, but that option costs over $3,000.
When you hear that one course costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 and the other costs around $400, you’d automatically assume the more expensive course has the better bells and whistles.
But you’d be wrong. We actually have this category as tie, with Magoosh offering some shockingly generous (and impressive) supplemental resources.
With Magoosh, you’re going to get custom study plans, 24/7 email support, vocab guides, lecture notes, cheat sheets, and a bunch more. Of particular note is their 24/7 email support, which isn’t as effective as Altius’ mentoring, or even straight tutoring, but is a genuinely helpful resource.
On the flip side, Blueprint’s resources are exactly what you’d expect – rock solid. You get the standard set of extras that you’d expect, all with Blueprint’s signature quality.
In terms of plain quality and comprehensiveness, there’s no arguing that Blueprint offers the better MCAT prep course.
Their coursework goes deeper, and offers a more robust curriculum of integrated learning modules.
In addition, you get thousands more practice problems, a dozen more full-length simulated exams and live classes. So if you’re looking at straight effectiveness, Blueprint wins.
However, Magoosh’s ultra-approachable price point of right around $400 makes this a very hard call. Do you pay up and get the course you know rates out higher, or save the money and try to get by with Magoosh’s budget course that still packs a bit of a punch?
At the end of the day, if money isn’t an issue, go Blueprint, hands down. No questions asked.
But if money is really, really tight, you’ll be in good hands with Magoosh. And if you fall somewhere in the middle, our suggestion is to pay up and go Blueprint.
The med school you get into very well may determine the trajectory of your medical career, and that all starts with a top tier MCAT score. Invest in yourself and get the better overall course. Blueprint wins.