We understand how challenging the MCAT can be. For many pre-med students with great GPA’s, research experience, and activities, it’s all that stands between them and medical school admissions. For 2015, students face the increased challenge of a longer test and more material to cover. We can help.
This page is specific to the upcoming 2015 test revision. If you are taking a MCAT date through January 2015, please see this page instead.
A Personalized MCAT 2015 Tutoring Program
Each Next Step student works through a completely custom program. From start date to MCAT test day, you’ll work one-on-one with a veteran MCAT instructor to help you earn your best possible score. We work with students who:
- Are just starting out on the new MCAT
- Have taken a prep course with little progress
- Have already taken the MCAT and need to raise their score
Click here if you would like to see a sample tutoring plan. (Note that these are samples only; each of our programs is highly customized based on student timeline and needs.)
See the results of our program on our MCAT Reviews page.
One-on-one MCAT Tutoring Program Overview
Each of our students begins with a diagnostic exam to gauge his or her current score level and to understand initial strengths and weaknesses. Typically, students will be much weaker in one of the sciences – and most students need at least some help with CARS (the new Verbal Reasoning section). Finally, most students will require content introduction and strategic practice with the new Behavioral Sciences section.
At the beginning of your program, your MCAT tutor will put together a draft schedule for your program. For beginning students, this will include significant review of the substantive science content as well as test-taking strategy. For students who have already been studying, we will focus in on areas of weakness.
Students meet with their instructor once or twice per week, usually for two hours at a time.
At each session:
- Students have the opportunity to discuss questions on their homework and re-assess their overall progress
- New topics are covered in-depth and weaker areas are reviewed
- Specific homework and practice exams are assigned for completion between study sessions
Ideally, students prepare for the MCAT for 3-6 months. However, we have also helped students successfully optimize a shorter timeframe for maximum gain or prepare for a re-take on a compressed timeline.
Next Step also specializes in helping three special MCAT cases:
Students who are shooting for a score in the top 10%. Students who are shooting for a top score generally don’t need basic help understanding or memorizing science concepts (which is why group classes tend to be less helpful). Instead, they focus on the strategic problem-solving and test-taking skills that separate average scores from the top 10 percentile.
Students who have already completed a MCAT prep class. Many students complete a MCAT prep course, only to feel they haven’t received the score they need to get into med school. In particular, we often hear that the course was very good at reviewing the sciences, but didn’t help students effectively apply that knowledge on the actual exam. In other words, students haven’t yet learned to think like the MCAT test makers.
Students who have already taken the MCAT and were unhappy with their score. Re-taking the MCAT is never a positive experience. Most pre-med students put a ton of effort and focus into the test — and when the scores come back under 510, they are rightfully disappointed We can help. By focusing on areas of particular challenge, we’re able to help students turn around problem sections and polish strengths — with the goal of straight 128+ scores.
Preparation for the 2015 Exam
As you likely know, the format for the MCAT is changing substantially. Over the last year, Next Step has been working to prepare our academic managers and tutors for the new exam content and format. We understand that this change is not a small revision to the test but rather a major overhaul, requiring students (and their instructors) to learn and execute new strategies.
The new exam is certainly challenging, with an entirely new section and all existing sections extended in length. However, students shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about whether the test is “harder” — it’s just very different. The 2015 exam is heavily slanted towards biology; you’re likely to see even physics questions constructed to test your understanding of living systems. And, students are generally relieved to hear that the organic chemistry content has been substantially reduced.
We have made the following preparations to make sure we can offer the highest level of prep for the new exam:
- Our students will have access to several practice exams in addition to the official AAMC practice material.
- Next Step students will have access to over 500 pages of preparatory material on the new psychology and sociology section, authored by our MCAT director (44 score on the old scale).
- Each Next Step tutor will have undergone a rigorous re-training process, including qualifying to take the new exam by working through every released AAMC practice problem and our own internal preparation materials. Tutors must pass a re-certification exam to qualify. We have the most rigorous re-certification program in the industry.
Before you select a MCAT tutoring provider, please discuss with them what they have done to prepare for the new exam.
A Focus On Strategy
Scoring 510+ on the MCAT requires a solid understanding of science content, but more importantly you’ve got to have a strategic approach to the MCAT itself. Our students often tell us that they have a good grasp on the sciences but just can’t turn that knowledge into the score they want.
When we work with students one-on-one, we are able to focus on test-taking strategy as well as the sciences. Unlike a classroom course, in which the teacher will only have one set method for doing things, we are flexible in our approach. There are many different paths to success on an MCAT science question (process of elimination, outside knowledge, estimation, etc.) and we help our students find the one that works best for them – and does so within the test’s strict time limits.
Success on the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section (the new Verbal Reasoning) is based entirely on your strategic approach. In a class, the teacher is likely to force all of the students in a single, artificial method (such as stopping to take notes on scratch paper while reading) whereas an individual tutor can adapt the Verbal strategy to your personalized needs.
Finally, pre-med students often need introduction to the concepts and the strategies in the new Psych/Soc section alongside ample opportunities to practice those concepts.
Materials and Methodologies
Since so many of our students have already done some studying on their own, we consult students individually on what materials they already have and what additional resources would be helpful. We always provide our students with every officially released AAMC resource, including all official 2015 MCAT practice exams and the AAMC Official Guide.
We have found that there are a number of ways to teach most aspects of the MCAT. Rather than choosing one method arbitrarily and mandating it for all of our students, we leave it up to our veteran instructors to chart the right course for the individual student based on an initial diagnostic or past MCAT scores.
“I turned to Next Step after getting average MCAT results after using a traditional test prep course. This time around, I decided I needed more specific help. I needed structure, and in the first session, we set up a schedule that I could work with and stick to. I just got back my score, and am happy to report I jumped from a 28 to a 36.” Lauren, Next Step MCAT Tutoring Student
Flexible Start Dates and Scheduling
Since our programs are completely customized, our students can start any time. We will put together the right program to take you from your start date to the day of your test, making the best use of time available.
We are able to guide your prep over the course of 6 months, or we can put together a plan to eke out those last few points 2 weeks before your test date.
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