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Magoosh vs Princeton Review MCAT
Determine which MCAT prep course is better for you in this detailed Princeton Review vs Magoosh comparison
As you begin your journey towards medical school, choosing the right MCAT prep course will be your first hurdle. Although it seems like a simple decision, choosing the wrong course can really set you back. In this article, we compare two of the most popular MCAT prep courses on the market (Magoosh and Princeton Review) so you can easily determine the best course for your budget and learning preferences.
As this is a lengthy article, we’ve included jump-to links above for easy navigation.
Video Breakdown: Princeton Review or Magoosh For MCAT Prep?
In the above video, John (from the TPI team) explains the biggest differences between the MCAT prep courses from Magoosh and Princeton Review, as well as which course our team thinks is better. Thanks for watching!
Let’s get started by discussing pricing and course options. At the outset, as your probably know, Magoosh is by far the more affordable option. They offer two different self-paced plans, including a 1-month premium option which costs around $380 and a 12-month premium option that costs around $400.
For an extra $20, I’m guessing almost everyone will choose the 12-month plan.
Then Princeton Review, on the other hand, offers four different course options. The first is their standard self-paced online course, which runs around $2,000. Next is their Live Online course, which adds in 40 hours of live instruction and costs around $2,800.
Then there is Princeton’s MCAT 513+ course, which as its name suggests includes a score guarantee of at least 513. This option costs around $3,500.
And finally there’s the company’s 515+ Immersion course. This is an intensive bootcamp-style course that includes over 190 hours of live instruction and a score guarantee of at least 515. This course option costs a whopping $7,300.
Putting that in perspective, it’s sort of like comparing apples to oranges. It is just very hard to compare these courses on a cost basis. So the bottom line is that if you’re on a tight budget and you’re looking to save money, the answer is pretty clear – you’ll likely save at least $1,600 by going with Magoosh.
Reasons To Choose Princeton Review MCAT Over Magoosh
With our pricing comparison out of the way, let’s jump into the main advantages of going with Princeton Review over Magoosh for your MCAT prep.
MCAT Practice Tests
The first advantage in Princeton Review’s favor is their bundle of practice tests. Princeton Review offers 16 full-length simulated practice exams, whereas Magoosh offers just 3. It probably goes without saying, but that is a huge difference.
In my opinion, taking practice tests under exam like conditions and then thoroughly reviewing them question-by-question is often where students make the biggest gains. So the fact that Princeton provides 13 more of these opportunities is a huge advantage.
Live MCAT Classes
The next pro in Princeton Review’s column is live lasses. Depending on which Princeton course you end up choosing, you’ll get anywhere from 40 to 195 hours of live instruction. By comparison, with Magoosh’s courses, there are no live classes, it’s all self-study.
So if you’re not the self-studier type and instead prefer learning in a live class setting so you can interact with teachers and peers and ask a bunch of questions, or if you simply need a fixed class schedule to help hold yourself accountable and stay organized, then Princeton is obviously the more ideal option.
MCAT Prep Books
The third advantage for Princeton Review is hardcopy prep books. Like live classes, this is something missing from the Magoosh packages. All of the Magoosh content is 100% digital and online.
Princeton Review, however, provides students with 11 hardcopy prep books. Seven of these books cover subject specific content review spanning biology, general chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, physics and math, psychology and sociology, and CARS. The other four books consist of various course-based workbooks.
Bottom line, if you’re more of an old-school type of student that loves hardcopy prep books so you can study on the go and highlight key points, dog-ear pages, and take notes in the margins, then Princeton is clearly the way to go.
Elite Score Guarantees
For those students looking to achieve an elite score, the final noteworthy win for Princeton is their score guarantees. As noted above, with a couple different course options, Princeton Review actually promises a score of 513 or 515 or greater (depending on which prep package you choose).
These types of guarantees are pretty rare in the MCAT prep space. Obviously, a score of 513 or 515 should be good enough to get you accepted into some top tier medical programs, so that’s a pretty big deal.
For comparison purposes, Magoosh does offer a 10-point score increase guarantee, which is good, but also doesn’t quite compare with Princeton’s.
With that said, there is some fine print that goes along with the Princeton score guarantees which you’ll want to check that out prior to enrolling. For example, you’ll have to meet Princeton’s minimum starting score threshold to qualify. Nonetheless, it’s hard to argue with a 513 score promise. It’s just a nice insurance policy for those of you targeting an elite score.
Reasons To Choose Magoosh MCAT Over Princeton Review
Now that you have a good idea of the areas in which Princeton Review beats Magoosh, let’s flip the script and discuss the advantages of choosing Magoosh for your MCAT prep.
The first advantage in Magoosh’s corner has to be pricing. Magoosh is far more affordable than Princeton Review and honestly, Magoosh is one of, if not, the best values in the entire MCAT prep industry.
It’s just hard not to like their price point. For $400, you get access to some really solid prep materials.
Extra Resources For Students
Another advantage for Magoosh is the extra resources they offer students, my favorite of which is the 24/7 email support. Basically, if you ever get stuck on a practice problem or don’t understand a specific topic or testing strategy, you can email one of Magoosh’s remote MCAT tutors.
Once sent, they’ll generally respond within a day or so with a detailed answer. It’s pretty awesome, and the responses are usually pretty helpful. It’s just a nice security blanket in case you ever get hung up as you’re studying.
Lastly, I’d like to discuss Magoosh’s mobile apps (plural, because they actually offer two of them). The first one is a flashcard app, which provides some nice quick-hit refreshers when you’re not at your computer.
Then the second app gives you access to all the Magoosh video lessons, so you can sneak in some extra study time when you have a few minutes between classes, on your lunch break, or when you have some downtime at work. They’re just a great resource for busy, on the go students.
Having covered all the details, let’s get to the final verdict. Should you choose Princeton Review or Magoosh to help you prepare for the MCAT? Well, I think the answer to that question largely depends on your budget and target score.
If money is your chief concern and you simply can’t spend more than $400 to $500, then the choice is easy, go with Magoosh! Like I said earlier, I think Magoosh is one of the best bang for your buck courses in all of MCAT prep. It’s just tough to beat their low price point.
Now, if money is not an issue and you simply want the best score possible so you can hopefully get accepted into a top-rated medical school, then I think Princeton Review is the way to go. Their courses, while more expensive, are also much more robust in terms of features, content and instruction. I just think Princeton’s courses, especially their live class offerings, are going to give you the best shot of scoring high on the MCAT.