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Princeton Review MCAT Prep Review

A detailed breakdown and evaluation of the Princeton Review MCAT prep course and books

With the MCAT being such a high-stakes exam, future med school students generally don’t want to take any risks in choosing their prep. That is why many turn to Princeton Review – a no-nonsense, instructional-heavy, proven MCAT prep course. But does this course get results? We provide our full thoughts and analysis on this MCAT prep program after purchasing it and testing everything Princeton has to offer.

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Princeton Review

  • Multiple Course Options
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  • Multiple Course Options
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  • Fantastic live online classes led by rotating team of 4 to 6 subject matter experts
  • Deep curriculum packed with detail for those needing strong content review
  • Top-notch MCAT prep books (great for text-based learners)
  • Very good practice problem explanations & detailed rationales
  • Unlimited access to livestream MCAT workshops
  • Delivery format of the on demand video lessons could definitely be improved
  • Mobile app is not very useful (kind of clunky and only contains flashcards)
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Outline: Princeton Review MCAT Course

As this is a pretty lengthy review that covers a number of topics, we’ve included jump-to links above for your convenience.

Video: Is Princeton Review MCAT Worth It?

In the video above, John from the Test Prep Insight team walks you through the major pros and cons of the Princeton Review MCAT prep course. For more detail regarding this course, be sure to read our full, written review below.

MCAT Course Options & Pricing

Before diving straight into my thoughts on the Princeton Review MCAT course, let’s quickly cover their different course formats to provide some context. Princeton offers a bunch of different prep options to students, which vary based on level of instruction, course intensity and level of access; however, there are four main packages. Those four prep packages include:

  • Self-Paced
  • Ultimate (Live Online)
  • MCAT 515+
  • MCAT 515+ Immersion

The Self-Paced Course is their DIY prep program, which you work through at your own speed. It is the most affordable package at $1,600. 

The next package is the Ultimate Course (also called the Live Online Course). It gives students the chance to learn through 123 hours of live scheduled class time. It costs around $2,900.

Then there is the MCAT 515+ program, which guarantees a score of 515 or better on the MCAT. It costs around $3,500.

Finally, Princeton Review’s most intense option – the MCAT 515+ Immersion course – is the most expensive and immersive prep format of them all. It comes with 195 hours of class time and costs around $7,300.

In purchasing and reviewing Princeton Review’s MCAT program, we took the Ultimate Course. However, which course option is right for you will totally depend on your budget, preferred learning style and schedule. Next, let’s dive into what we think of Princeton Review.

Our Analysis of Princeton Review’s MCAT Coursework

One of the first things that jumps out about Princeton Review’s coursework is the sheer quantity of prep material that they provide. Princeton gives you access to over 500 video lessons, 11 prep books, 2,500+ practice problems, 17 full-length practice tests, a seemingly endless number of live topic-based sessions, and 123+ live instruction hours (assuming you’re taking a live course).

This is a ton of prep material, so for students seeking to maximize the amount of prep they get for their money, this is it. Of the MCAT courses that I’ve reviewed, only Kaplan MCAT comes close.

Princeton Review MCAT prep course dashboard
The Princeton Review MCAT prep course dashboard

Their curriculum is generally divided up by MCAT subject, such as biology and organic chemistry, for a total of six sections.

Each subject is then broken down into “classes,” with each class covering a specific subtopic of the more general category. Within each of these classes there are three components:

  • Prework: This section is a primer for what is to come in the meat of the lesson. It generally includes a diagnostic exam, reading assignment from your subject books, and some practice problem sets and drills.
  • Class: Class itself really just consists of a series of video lectures. These video-based lessons get right to the heart of the material and serve as your primary instruction.
  • Homework: This material serves to reinforce the content reviewed in the class lessons and takes the form of drills and workbook practice.

The on demand video lessons in the online portion of the course are generally short in duration (around 5-20 minutes each) and cover topic specific instruction. They take the form of a slideshow with a voice-over by the “instructor.”

Princeton Review MCAT picture

I put “instructor” in air quotes because for those watching the video lessons in the online coursework you will quickly realize it’s an AI voice. It’s shockingly human-like, but after a few minutes you realize it’s just a robot reading from an uploaded transcript. The “instructor” verbalizes their lesson as the onscreen whiteboard updates with text, notes and different graphics.

Moreover, the videos move pretty fast. There’s no human touch to them and it’s all business as you move through the slides in the video.

On the positive side, however, these videos are on point from a substantive perspective, and they spoon feed you all the high-yield content that you need to know. So in just looking at video content, they’re great.

Princeton Review MCAT video Lesson
Typical Princeton Review MCAT video Lesson

To summarize, the content and graphics in the videos are good, but the delivery needs a significant upgrade. This is probably the most glaring issue of the Princeton Review MCAT course that I found. As such, for self-paced visual learners, take note of this issue. The Blueprint MCAT video lessons are much better in my opinion.

Beyond the video lessons though, you also get access to 2,500+ practice problems across all of Princeton’s online content. There are hundreds of drills and diagnostic exams surrounding the classes, and each practice problem within these components has an attached explanation.

The practice problem explanations are incredibly thorough and I was personally very impressed with them. The explanations dive into great detail, breaking down the basis of the question, as well as giving a thorough analysis of each answer choice. These explanations add serious value to the course and should be reviewed after each missed question.

I also found the subject specific diagnostic exams within each class to be incredibly useful. These diagnostic tools establish your baseline skill level and track your progress from there as you move through the course. These give a great opportunity to analyze your weaknesses and put extra work towards those areas.

Princeton Review MCAT Score Report
Score report with problem explanations

To cap off the lessons and coursework, Princeton Review additionally provides access to all AAMC official practice materials. This isn’t necessarily a special or exclusive feature (Kaplan and others do this as well), but most every student searching for a solid MCAT prep course will expect this, so it’s nice to see Princeton offer it.

These AAMC materials, consisting of practice tests, flashcards and online practice, are all top-notch and a huge benefit to the overall prep package.

All things considered, I was very impressed with Princeton Review’s curriculum and coursework. The quality of their video lessons in the online portal was lacking and the material dry, but they were definitely effective and covered every nook and cranny of MCAT material.

I separately really liked the quality and quantity of drills and ancillary coursework around the class sessions. In short, there should not be any doubts about the nature of Princeton Review’s MCAT coursework. You absolutely get what you pay for with this course.

Princeton Review MCAT Prep Books

In addition to the online video instruction, drills, assigned readings and other digital coursework, Princeton Review provides students with 11 hard copy prep books. Of these 11 books, 7 cover subject specific content review, spanning the subjects of biology, general chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, physics and math, psychology and sociology, and CARS.

The other 4 books consist of various course-based workbooks. Combined, they make for an extremely comprehensive and valuable resource in my opinion. They are just as good as, if not better than, the MCAT prep books from Kaplan and Blueprint.

Princeton Review MCAT prep books
Seven of the Princeton Review MCAT prep books

The subject specific review books are honestly worth their weight in gold if you need in-depth content review. They cover each topic in extreme detail, with excellent explanations and helpful graphics. They dive into details you don’t get through the instruction alone and they act as a very nice complement to the core coursework.

The workbooks are also very useful, serving as extra practice and a means to reinforce the content you’ve learned (or likely re-learned).

My personal opinion is that the Princeton books are worth almost as much as the online content itself. I learn particularly well through reading textbooks, so for me personally, these books are a blessing. They are well-written, clearly articulated, and do a great job breaking down complex material. All together, they are a powerful study resource.

Princeton Review MCAT Practice Tests

In total, Princeton Review gives you 17 full-length practice tests. Given the importance of practice work when it comes to the MCAT, this is an incredibly valuable offering.

With respect to pure numbers, 17 is a very generous figure. That is way more mock exams than you get with budget prep companies like Magoosh and MCAT Self Prep.

However, just as important as the quantity of practice tests is the ability to practice under exam-like conditions. To be fully prepared, it is critical that students practice like its game-day, so practice tests must match the real MCAT in terms of question content, structure and format. Fortunately, Princeton Review does a great job on all fronts.

Princeton Review MCAT practice test
Princeton Review MCAT practice test

Their non-AAMC practice test passages and problems are amazingly close to the real questions you will see on exam day.

Honestly, I could hardly tell the difference between the Princeton questions and AAMC problems. Plus, the digital platform Princeton employs to administer the practice tests is a very good representation of the actual software you will see.

Together, the near identical questions and testing software make for a true exam-like experience.

Following each practice test, you are given an interactive score report. These reports are extremely detailed and break down your performance by subject and subtopic. This gives you a clear view into where your weaknesses lie, allowing for further practice in those areas.

You can also jump into individual missed questions from the score report to review problem explanations. I found these score reports to be extremely well-designed and very beneficial for purposes of reviewing mistakes. I especially like how you can dive into specific questions to see where you went wrong.

👉 Related: Princeton Review vs Kaplan MCAT Comparison

Princeton Review Live MCAT Classes

If you choose to take one of the Princeton Review MCAT courses with a classroom component, your course will look a little different than the self-paced version. The classes follow the same general structure, but are obviously a little different.

In short, you work through the same “classes” that are in the core online curriculum, but rather than teaching yourself with video lessons and reading assignments in the books, a real instructor leads you through the material.

It is coverage of the same general content, but in a different format. This has two advantages in my mind. First, it provides some structure to your studies. Thus, if you need to be held accountable and want the commitment of a regularly scheduled live class, it’s great for that.

Then second, you obviously get much deeper instruction. The Princeton Review instructors don’t simply read off the slides or out of the book. They also share their experiences from tutoring, giving tips that are not in the book, and overall, just go deeper.

princeton review mcat quiz
A score report following a diagnostic exam

Plus, you just flat out get a lot of live instruction with Princeton Review. The live course offerings all boast at least 123 hours of live instruction. That is more than 3x the number of classroom hours that you get with Kaplan, and is frankly a little mind boggling.

Whatever path you take, that is a lot of classroom time. And while more class hours don’t necessarily mean better scores, I believe the extra time dedicated to learning from a MCAT pro certainly helps.

And another cool thing is that rather than the course being led by one instructor, the Princeton classes are taught by a rotating team of subject matter experts. You will usually get a mix of four to six different Princeton experts, who are masters of a particular field.

This ensures that you are getting specialists teaching your classes rather than generalists who maybe only have a surface level knowledge of a particular topic.

Following each class session, you will also be assigned some personalized homework. The homework is a mixed bag and can be anything from reading assignments to drills to diagnostics. And don’t think the homework is a light load that you can breeze through while watching TV – it often took hours to complete.

Digital Platform & User Experience

The Princeton online portal that houses the majority of your coursework is clean, professional, and very intuitive. I would not say that it is sleek or modern, but it is aesthetically pleasing.

The layout is also very easy to use, and maneuvering through the portal is a breeze. There are literally just four tabs at the top. The navigation bar directs you to the various study materials in a very easy to understand manner.

Princeton Review MCAT Topic Focus overview
Overview of Topic Focus sessions

To the extent the video-based lessons make up part of the user experience, that aspect is significantly lacking. I understand that it is difficult and expensive to produce 500+ high quality videos with great production value, but these videos just don’t make the cut.

I would just expect better on that front. But apart from that aspect, the overall user interface and experience of the Princeton Review online content is visually appealing and easy to use.

Extra MCAT Study Resources

While not always at the top of priority lists when it comes MCAT prep courses, supplemental resources are always a nice bonus. Fortunately, for Princeton Review students, they offer a few really valuable add-ons.

The most important and useful resource by far is Princeton’s “MCAT Topic Focus.” This is a series of teacher office hours-type sessions that cover various subjects on the MCAT.

There are over 12 sessions offered per week, where instructors dive into deeper detail on particular topics and allow students to ask questions. This is a nice resource for students seeking more knowledge on a certain subject or a chance to ask some follow-up questions from class.

Princeton Review MCAT Topic Focus
Princeton Review MCAT Topic Focus session

Princeton’s Ultimate MCAT Student Guide is also a helpful feature. This downloadable PDF covers everything students needs to know about the MCAT in general, the Princeton Review prep course, how to effectively prepare for the MCAT, med school admissions, and more. By and large, you can think of it as your go-to manual for MCAT prep.

Lastly, through your Princeton Review MCAT prep course, you will also get access to Princeton’s Med School Admissions Advantage sessions. These video sessions offer advice from Princeton med school admissions counselors and experts on tips for optimizing your med school admissions application and qualifications, among other things.

Together with the MCAT Topic Focus, Student Guide and other ancillary resources available through the portal, Princeton offers a nice bundle of resources.

Princeton Review Private MCAT Tutoring

For students seeking some personalized attention from an expert on the MCAT, Princeton Review offers several different private tutoring packages ranging from 10 to 50 hours.

Prices start at $183/hour and go up from there. That’s not a crazy price point for an MCAT tutor, but it’s not cheap either. Having not actually used the Princeton Review MCAT tutors myself, I can’t speak to their quality, but I would expect them to be pretty good.

Content Access Period

Princeton Review has one of the more favorable content access periods in the MCAT test prep space. For most Princeton Review MCAT courses, you will receive 12 months of online access to content. Compared to other test prep courses, this kind of access period is quite generous.

The Princeton Review Mobile App

Keeping up with other test prep companies that offer MCAT prep courses, Princeton Review has rolled out its own MCAT mobile app. While this may perk your ears, do not get too excited about the content it offers. The mobile app is limited to 550 content-based flashcards. There are no practice quizzes, problems, video lessons or anything else from your actual coursework on the app.

Personally, I would like to see Princeton Review connect their mobile app with your coursework, and allow you to do practice problems and watch video lessons from your phone. That would be a true add in value.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the flashcards and think they are great in their own right, but I just would like more. The flashcards make for some great quick-hit studying while on the train or killing time, but they are not game changers.

Princeton Review Score Increase Guarantee

Princeton Review offers a score increase guarantee for all of its courses, with a particularly strong guarantee for the MCAT 515+ and MCAT 515+ Immersion packages.

For the Self-Paced and Ultimate courses, Princeton guarantees that your MCAT score will increase with the use for their course. However, it is the two upper echelon courses where the real guarantee kicks in.

Princeton Review MCAT lessons
The Princeton Review MCAT lessons

For the 515+ programs, Princeton Review guarantees that you will get at least a 515 or better. Now, to qualify for this promise, you must have a baseline score of 505 or better. Otherwise they simply guarantee a score jump of +10 points (which is still pretty good in its own right).

Each guarantee requires that you complete all your coursework, along with some other requirements, but the same is expected from any company’s guarantee program. Overall, the Princeton guarantees are quite generous.

Princeton Review Refund Policy

Generally speaking, if you choose to withdraw from your Princeton Review prep course for any reason within 7 days of purchase, you will get 100% of your money back. Beyond that 7-day period, however, you will be out of luck.

This refund policy applies to tuition costs only and not shipping expenses, which will not be reimbursed. Note that this liberal refund policy does not apply to the 515+ Immersion program though, so check those requirements closely.

Verdict: Princeton Review MCAT Prep Course

Overall, I really liked the Princeton Review MCAT prep course. The practice problem explanations are thorough, the course organization is smart, the drills hammer home the most important MCAT subjects, and the lessons target high-yield topics. Overall, I was very impressed with Princeton’s course.

All that said, I did have issue with their online video-based lessons and mobile app. The production value of the video lessons is not great and I didn’t care for the AI instructor voice. And while I don’t care for the usefulness of their mobile app, it is a small feature in an overall strong package.

But for students that want results and little risk when spending their money on a prep course, I would not hesitate to pull the trigger on Princeton Review’s course. It’s a surefire prep option.

👉 Read Next: Princeton Review vs Blueprint MCAT Comparison


How much does the Princeton Review MCAT course cost?

The Princeton Review MCAT prep options range in price from around $1,600 on the affordable end for their self-paced offering to roughly $7,000+ on the expensive side for their intensive 515+ Immersion program.

How many live classroom hours do I get with Princeton Review?

If you opt for the Ultimate Course or MCAT 515+ offering from Princeton Review, you will get 123 live instruction hours.

How long do I get access to my online study materials with Princeton Review?

You will get at least 365 days of online access to all of your study resources with any Princeton Review course. That should provide plenty of study time to prep for the MCAT.