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MCAT Self Prep Review
A detailed review and analysis of the MCAT Self Prep course
Unlike other MCAT prep courses with expensive price tags, recorded lectures and live classes, MCAT Self Prep delivers a unique prep course that pulls together a number of resources into one platform. But will their self-directed course designed by founder Andrew George, who himself scored in the 99th percentile and was accepted into several top 25 med schools, be enough for you to achieve your target score on the MCAT? We answer that question and more in this detailed review and analysis of the MCAT Self Prep course.
In the video above, John from the Test Prep Insight team breaks down everything you need to know about the MCAT Self Prep course. As always, you can find more details regarding this prep option in our full written review below. Also, if you’re getting ready to take the MCAT, you may also want to check out our list of the Best MCAT Prep Courses.
MCAT Self Prep Options & Pricing
Let’s start with MCAT Self Prep’s cost since it’s one of the biggest draws about this prep program. In short, MCAT Self Prep is one of the least expensive options for MCAT prep, largely because they source their course materials from a number of different free and affordable sources.
More on this below, but just know that you won’t have to spend anywhere near the thousands of dollars that other companies charge. I mean ANYWHERE near that much.
And that’s because the MCAT Self Prep courses start at just under $20. Well, technically that’s not true. There is a totally free version of this e-course, but it’s not really worth the time as it’s ad-supported (i.e. tons of pop-up ads), has VERY limited content, and only saves you $20.
So I’d say don’t even think about it if you go the MCAT Self Prep route; just pay the $20 and upgrade.
With that first-level upgrade to the Basic plan, your 20 bucks will get you access to their video collection, ten content modules, MCAT Bootcamp, and a Study Plan Course that teaches you how customize your own Study Plan Spreadsheet, Study Portal, and Score Tracker. From there, you can then add on modules and elements as you like.
Then with the Advanced Pro plan at just under $200, you’ll have access to MCAT Self Prep’s collection of more than 5,000 comprehensive quizlet flashcards, as well as some additional MCAT practice questions.
And finally, rounding out their course options is the Deluxe Pro Plan, which costs around $1,400. I know that sounds pricey, but keep in mind it’s still a deal compared to other MCAT prep providers.
With this plan, you’ll have access to their full suite of features, including 9 memorization and strategy courses which are designed to help you master core test taking skills.
So yes, the MCAT Self Prep package is cheap. It’s actually more than cheap, it’s a steal at this price. But keep in mind that you will need to access the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) practice question bundle, which is not provided by the MCAT Self Prep courses or available as an add-on.
You’ll need to purchase this separately from the AAMC directly or from a third party, and it will cost you another $250 to $300 depending on current pricing. This is sort of annoying, but not really that big of a deal in my eyes given the quality of materials.
By the way, if you’re looking for additional prep books or study materials to supplement the MCAT Self Prep course, make sure to check out our list of the best MCAT prep books here.
Evaluation of the MCAT Self Prep Study Materials
Regardless of which package you choose, we found the MCAT Self Prep program to be pretty comprehensive. By and large, our team was impressed with the offerings, finding their course structure and in-house materials to be effective and well-crafted.
Since there are so many different components offered with the MCAT Self Prep course, we’ve broken down our thoughts on these individual pieces below:
10 Content Modules
All three paid levels of the MCAT Self Prep course offer access to 10 content modules, which cover all of the hard content that you’ll need to learn and memorize. Within these content modules, you’ll find approximately 150 lessons that cover narrow subtopics and are designed to be easy to complete.
The aim of these lessons is to efficiently and effectively organize all the substantive content you’ll need for the test. These modules include:
Behavioral Science I
Behavioral Science II
I really liked these lessons, and thought they were thorough, while still being easy to digest. To be clear, these lessons aren’t as robust or detailed as those from Blueprint or Kaplan, but still pretty dang good, especially for the price. Each lesson covers the hard content through multiple angles, including assigned readings, video lessons and practice work.
These lessons are sort of the backbone of the MCAT Self Prep course, and give your studies true lift. Recall, MCAT Self Prep is all about taking others’ authoritative study tools and resources, and organizing them in a way that streamlines your studies. These content modules do just that on the hard content review side.
300+ Hours of Video Lessons
MCAT Self Prep’s collection of video lessons is also available at all three levels. However, I’m not sure calling them “MCAT Self Prep’s videos” is totally right. To be fair, these videos are actually free YouTube videos provided by Khan Academy. MCAT Self Prep simply provides links to them through their study plan, telling you which ones to watch and when.
In short, these videos include visual lessons and lectures covering every major MCAT topic listed by the AAMC. The videos are ideal for refreshing your knowledge and are presented by content experts in their fields.
However, while I found these Khan videos to be comprehensive and dead on in terms of scientific content, I found them a tad bit boring in their delivery. Not to mention, the delivery format just sort of stinks (unlike Prep101, Jack Westin and others).
They’re all presented through a digital blackboard and the picture is always sort of grainy. But again, while boring and lacking production quality, the content is solid.
I do realize though, that at such a low price point I shouldn’t expect over-the-top excitement in the videos. That’s not to say that the videos don’t deliver a lot essential information, because they do. Personally, I just found them to be a bit dull.
5,000+ Quizlet Flashcards
MCAT Self Prep’s quizlet flashcards are a clear highlight of this program – at least in my eyes. They allow you to drill yourself on important topics that will be covered on the exam in a format that isn’t your old school 3×5 index cards.
They’re called “quizlet” flashcards because they quiz you through questions and prompts on the front, with answers on the back. In addition, most of the flashcards have a colorful graphic or diagram on the back to help visualize a point.
In my opinion, these are one of the biggest value adds of the MCAT Self Prep program. The collection includes over 5,000 of these flashcards covering every MCAT concept as outlined by the AAMC. I found these flashcards to be convenient, comprehensive, and above all, effective.
They’re just not your average flashcards. While some of these cards target information to be memorized, others are formatted as comparisons, and still others are in the form of questions with answers to choose from.
Bottom line, I found the quizlet flashcards to be a highly effective tool that forced me to use the knowledge I’d learned and helped me more fully understand the concepts. The flashcards can also be accessed from your phone by simply logging into your account and selecting your lesson, which makes it convenient to study wherever and whenever it works best for you.
Take note that the quizlet flashcards are not available with the Basic Pro course, but in my opinion, are worth far more than the jump in price from the Basic Pro to the Advanced Pro option.
For those of you willing to go whole hog on the MCAT Self Prep course, the Deluxe Pro Plan provides 9 mastery courses. MCAT Self Prep believes that to succeed on the MCAT, you need a balance of memorization and strategy, which I fully agree with.
Now, to deliver that strategy, MCAT Self Prep leverages both memory courses and strategy courses to help you with the most detailed and difficult aspects of the exam. And to be clear, these are courses designed by MCAT Self Prep – not other third parties.
The mastery courses offered with the Deluxe Pro Plan are:
Amino Acids Mastery
Behavioral Science Booster Course
Metabolic Pathways Mastery
100 Most Essential MCAT Equations Mastery
High-speed Math Mastery
10 Most Commonly Missed Concepts
Science Passage Reading Strategy
Medical School Application Course
Ultimate CARS Strategy Course
For me, the most helpful of the mastery courses were the Behavioral Science Booster Course and the 100 Most Essential MCAT Equations Mastery. And, while I’ve always felt comfortable with my ability to read and interpret passages, I do feel like that the 10 key strategies covered in the Ultimate CARS Strategy Course gave me a solid edge.
Now whether these mastery courses are worth an additional $1,200, that’s up to you. I personally found them to be super helpful, but that’s also a pretty penny. If you’ve got the money, by all means go for it; they’re rock solid. But if you’re on a budget, you might need to think long and hard.
In terms of practice work, in addition to the AAMC materials (which must be purchased separately), MCAT Self Prep has recently added over 2,500 AAMC-style standalone questions to their content modules.
These 2,500 practice problems are spread across the 120 end-of-lesson mastery quizzes and are meant to backstop their hard content review sections. Personally, I found them to be very realistic of AAMC questions and think MCAT Self Prep has done a nice job with them.
Honestly, MCAT Self Prep could have gotten away with licensing some problems from another provider like Altius, but they chose to create their own. And I’m glad they did, as it just provides more diversity in terms of the practice material you’ll see.
Note though that these 2,500 problems are only available with the top two plans (that is, the Advanced and Deluxe Pro Plans).
Question of the Day
When you sign up for an MCAT Self Prep course, you’ll get an “MCAT Question of the Day” via email every morning, written in the exact style you’ll encounter on the exams. Every one of these questions also comes with a video explanation by Andrew George, who guides you step by step through the question and its solution.
Not only will you learn the right answer and how to get there, but you’ll also pick up key strategies and tips to approach the exam, which will help you in greater ways than just memorizing material.
At first, I thought these daily questions were just another thing junking up my inbox, but I soon realized that they provide a great review of topics covered on the exam. As with many of the video lessons, Andrew provides strategies to break down a problem, and I really liked the mnemonics he introduced to help with memorization.
Facebook Study Group
If you’re into social media, MCAT Self Prep gives you access to an active Facebook Study Group community with thousands of members. Not only is this group a great way to get fast answers to all of your questions, but it also lets you find study buddies, support fellow MCAT students and blow off steam when you need to.
If you don’t have a Facebook account to access this group, you may want to get one. I’m not huge on social, but I found it refreshing to be part of group where everyone shared their tips, experiences, humor, and support while studying for the MCAT.
Founder Andrew George is also available to offer personalized support to all who take the MCAT Self Prep program. In fact, if you’re looking at the program and you aren’t sure which level to sign up for, you can request a direct conversation with him to discuss your needs and the way you learn.
He’ll then give you tips, advice and guidance on which level you might want to pursue. I didn’t personally seek his help when selecting my course, but I think it’s nice that he makes himself available if you want to consult with him.
That said, I don’t want people thinking you’re going to get a bunch of support or guidance through MCAT Self Prep. I mean, it’s called “Self Prep” for a reason. This is a largely self-driven study program, and outside of the initial talk with Andrew and the Facebook group, there’s not much in the way of help or support. Just wanted to note this.
MCAT Self Prep’s Elite Tutoring takes an already pretty strong program and pushes it to the next level – if you’ve got the money. Basically, the Elite Tutoring program offers private tutoring services that are available to purchase as a stand-alone feature or can be bundled at a discount with Deluxe Pro Plan access.
Elite tutoring offers private, one-on-one time with a tutor who scored above the 97th percentile on the MCAT and has several years of active tutoring experience.
Private tutoring lessons are scheduled around your schedule, and the Elite Tutors can help you with any question or topic you’re struggling with. Sessions start at $149, which for comparison purposes, is less than half of what some other companies charge.
I chose to work with a tutor a couple of times during my final month of studying. It started with me asking for help with areas of concern through the Study Portal. Before even meeting with me, my tutor had reviewed my questions.
As a result, he came to our meeting prepared with the info he needed to address my needs and help reduce my anxiety.
From there, my tutor prepared a plan for me and adjusted my study plan as needed. He reviewed my progress often, and it was evident that he truly cared about teaching me, and not just lecturing.
If there is one single advantage that puts the MCAT Self Prep ahead of other programs, it’s that there aren’t any limited content access periods. Once you sign up and pay for your program, you get lifetime access to all of the materials and add-ons available. No matter how many times you need to take the MCAT, the materials will be there.
Want to go back after you take the exam just to keep your knowledge and skills sharp? You can do that, even years down the line. Looking to upgrade? You can do that as well, and you’ll only pay the difference. That means if you pay the $200 for the Advanced Pro Plan, you have a $200 credit toward your purchase of the Deluxe Pro Plan.
Verdict: MCAT Self Prep Course Review
If you’re looking for a self-guided prep plan to help you study and improve your chances of crushing a top tier score, the MCAT Self Prep program is a great option in my opinion. Designed for those on a budget and looking to do it mainly on their own with one-off resources, but still needing guidance, MCAT Self Prep offers a lot of value. Few other programs offer the same level of content at such a low cost, with even their top level program being less expensive than similarly situated courses.
The two drawbacks we found are that (1) the content delivery through their Khan Academy-leveraged video lessons isn’t too dynamic (i.e. they’re a bit dry and boring), and (2) you will incur an additional expense for the needed AAMC practice question bundle (roughly $250-$300), which is not included. That said, these are fairly minor complaints given the ultra-low price point of this course. Given their solid lessons, helpful organization of materials, flashcards, and other fairly impressive resources, we think MCAT Self Prep is a good choice for personalized, self-guided MCAT preparation on a budget.
Depending on the level of prep you need, you can plan on spending around $20, $200, or $1,400. Tutoring prices range anywhere from around $150 – $300 per session, determined by how many sessions you purchase.
Does MCAT Self Prep have a mobile app?
While there is not currently a mobile app for the course, it is mobile friendly and the features of the course can be easily accessed from your mobile device.
Are there any books or workbooks included?
Unfortunately, no. You will need the AAMC practice question bundle to partner with the course. Neither this bundle nor any other printed material is included in the course cost, and must be purchased separately from the AAMC or a third party.