The Princeton Review MCAT Prep Review

Easily ace the exam and be on your way to med school

Princeton Review

Princeton Review

The Princeton Review offers a large variety of MCAT prep tools for the aspiring medical student, and we tried out their MCAT Self-Paced course. Priced at $1,699, the package offers a large assortment of print and online resources to guide students through their MCAT review. Hundreds of hours of content review videos, thousands of review questions, and 15 full-length practice tests ensure a thorough MCAT review. Students have access to a well organized online portal for coursework and assessment tools, and ten print MCAT books provide ample content review and practice. 

The Pros and Cons

Pros Cons

A thorough and excellent review of the content covered in the MCAT

The course may be a bit cost prohibitive for some

Detailed feedback to assess student success

Course mobility is rather limited

User friendly and streamlined online portal

 

Expertly crafted print materials to accompany the online course

 

A better score is guaranteed or money back

 

What’s Included

The Princeton Review’s MCAT Self-Paced course offers an assortment of tools to guide a successful review for the MCAT exam. Their online portal provides access to over 500 content review videos, thousands of review questions, and 15 full-length practice exams, all organized into a streamlined course laid out in an easy-to-follow format. Ten comprehensive review books are provided to accompany the online course and enable offline review. 

Print Resources

Nine full-length books and one booklet provide any necessary content review and practice for the MCAT exam. These nine books are: MCAT Psychology and Sociology Review, MCAT Biology Review, MCAT General Chemistry Review, MCAT Organic Chemistry Review, MCAT Biochemistry Review, MCAT Physic and Math Review, MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Review, MCAT CARS Workbook, and MCAT Science Workbook.

The booklet, MCAT Science Review Questions and Solutions is thin and handy for a light, on-the-go review. A laminated MCAT Practice Test Booklet (with dry erase marker) similar to what is provided on test day is also included with the set. The books not only provide a review, but also include practice problems and explanations along with subject-specific test-taking strategies. Each book has its own unique end-of-book section such a formula sheets, lists or appendices of important material, useful analytical techniques, or additional test-taking strategies. 

Assessments and Full-Length Practice Tests

This course offers plenty of ways to track the progress of the student’s review. There are 15 full-length MCAT practice tests to monitor how well the review is going. The Reports section not only shows you the results of these test scores but also breaks them down by topic area and provides a goal tracker. The topic area breakdown is particularly useful in that the student can visually identify how well they have mastered various topics within each subject category. 

Guided Coursework

The review course is broken down by subject area with before, during, and after class assignments. Before starting each class, the student will take a subject-specific diagnostic exam to see what content is already known. The student will then continue on to do chapter readings and various practice exercises. The class portion is a series of short videos on the course material. After class, the student will take another assessment and work through more exercises online and in the Science Workbook.

Princeton Review
Daniel De Lill

Additional Resources

In addition to the guided content review and exam prep, the course provides resources with invaluable information about the medical school admissions process, including the essay, the interview, etc. Students will also have access to official AAMC study resources for even more review, complete with subject matter Question Packs and additional full-length practice tests. Here, the student will also have free access to the Khan Academy MCAT Collection video series.

The Princeton Review Student Portal App

Students have the ability to do some limited prep review while out-and-about with the Student Portal app. Students can view video lessons and track the progress of their review. They are able to access their test scores, view reports, and view answer explanations, but there is no ability to work on practice problems. For this, the student can take the thin Science Review Questions and Solutions booklet with them. This app is currently only available with Apple products.

Princeton Review
Daniel De Lill

Better Scores Guarantee

You are guaranteed a better score or your money back. You have the option for a refund on the course price or the opportunity to retake the course again. For this offer to be valid, however, the student must take all classes and finish all the assigned tasks and diagnostic exams. 

Kaplan’s Strengths

Princeton Review gives the student every resource they need to be successful on the MCAT in a well-organized and easy-to-follow outline. The course material is expertly designed and focuses on MCAT specific content.

Subject Review Books

Written by subject matter experts, these books review all the content necessary to tackle the questions posed on the MCAT. The beginning of these books includes the same introduction to the MCAT exam, including registration, understanding your score, what to expect on test day, etc. Each book has a unique end-of-book section with useful information specific to the subject topic. You can also register your books online to unlock three full-length practice exams.

Princeton Review
Daniel De Lill

Extensive Practice and Assessment

Students are assessed before and after each class in order to provide insight into how well they are mastering the content knowledge. Fifteen full-length practice exams then allow the student to monitor how well they can apply the content knowledge within the framework of the MCAT. Detailed explanations for each question make sure that students understand exactly why they got a question correct or incorrect. The topic area breakdown in the Reports section is a particularly useful tool to gauge areas of strength and weakness.

User-Friendly Online Portal

Preparing for an exam as intense as the MCAT can be quite intimidating and a review course that is poorly organized serves only to increase frustration and anxiety. Such issues should not arise for those who purchase this course. The online portal is logically laid out in a user-friendly manner. Students are not left to guess at what to do or where to find the content they need to use.

Kaplan’s Weaknesses

The ease of use of The Princeton Review’s MCAT self-paced course, unfortunately, does not extend to mobile applications, and students do not have means to easily and affordably augment their course.

Mobility

The biggest drawback to the self-paced course is its lack of mobility. Princeton does offer an app, but its utility is largely limited to tracking the student’s prep progress. Students can also view the class videos for content knowledge review, but there is no means to partake in doing practice problems. While doing certain problems can be difficult on the go, questions that examine cursory content knowledge could easily be done through an app, perhaps even in a flashcard format.

Expensive Course Tailoring

Sometimes a feature can be a weakness from one perspective, but not necessarily so from another. The Princeton Review course, while already pricey, does not offer any affordable add-on features to augment the course, but it does offer several ways to personalize a student’s review. Courses that are topic focused or specific to test-taking strategies are offered, as well as private tutoring, a CARS accelerator course, and even an admissions counseling program, but these do come at a steep cost. On the other hand, the Self-Paced course more than serves as an adequate review for the MCAT on its own merit and additional augmentation of the course may be more of a distraction than an aide for some students. 

Pricing

The Princeton Review offers a few options for their MCAT review courses, from in-class review to personalized tutors. 

Princeton’s Ultimate Course

Price: $2,549

Includes: 123 hours of classroom instruction (in person or online), 11 MCAT books (the same books provided with the Self-Paced Course plus an in class compendium), 500+ content review videos (MedFlix), thousands of review questions, 15 full-length exams, and access to AAMC resources. There is also a Winter Bootcamp version of this course available.

Princeton’s 510+ Course

Price: $3,049

Includes: 123 hours of classroom instruction (in person or online), 11 MCAT books (the same books provided with the Self-Paced Course plus an in-class compendium), 500+ content review videos (MedFlix), thousands of review questions, 15 full-length exams, and access to AAMC resources. Access to MCAT Topic Focus, a Study Manager, and Medical School Admissions Advantage set this apart from the Ultimate Course.

Princeton’s Strategy Course

Price: $2,549

Includes: Instead of content review, this course focuses on test-taking strategies provided across 24 2-hour sessions and comes with the 11 MCAT books (the same books provided with the Self-Paced Course plus an in-class compendium), 500+ content review videos (MedFlix), thousands of review questions, 15 full-length exams, and access to AAMC resources.

Princeton Review
Daniel De Lill

Princeton’s MCAT Self-Paced Course

Price: $1,599

Includes: 10 MCAT books, 500+ content review videos (MedFlix), thousands of review questions, 15 full-length exams, and access to AAMC resources.

Princeton vs. Kaplan

Both The Princeton Review and Kaplan offer self-paced courses for MCAT prep, and both are very similar in content and assessment opportunities. Kaplan comes at a slightly higher price with the ability to adjust the course’s price with extra features. Kaplan’s online portal can be rather intimidating and there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to navigating through the portal.

Following the course and accessing all of its features can become frustrating and confusing, whereas Princeton’s online portal is streamlined and efficient. It is easy to navigate and there are no “hidden” content buried within it.

On the other hand, Kaplan’s assessment tools are more adaptive than Princeton’s, providing a more detailed analysis of a student’s weaknesses and strengths, but almost to the point of being too extensive. The more rigid structure and simplified assessment reports of Princeton are reflected in its slightly lower price.

For students who desire a more classic, straightforward review for the MCAT, The Princeton Review’s Self-Paced course is an ideal choice. For students who benefit from a variety of pedagogical approaches and more dynamic assessments may wish to opt into the Kaplan course. 

Final Verdict

For the student who wants a basic but thorough review for the MCAT, The Princeton Review’s MCAT Self-Paced course is a great option. The print material covers all the content knowledge necessary and the concepts are reinforced through the online video courses and practice assessments. The reports are simple to interpret so that the student can identify areas that need more review. Students are guaranteed an increased score if they complete all aspects of the course.