The big test prep companies have giant multi-million dollar marketing budgets devoted to hiding one simple fact from you: MCAT prep can be done very well for very little money (or free!).
Let’s start with the basics: the people who make the test, the AAMC, publish lots of material to prep for the MCAT and that is absolutely where you should start.
1. Buy the Official Guide to the MCAT. Read it. Yes, it’s deadly boring. But so is studying Gross Anatomy! Just read the Official Guide cover-to-cover. Twice.
2. Buy all of the official AAMC practice tests and Self-Assessment packages. This can get pricey (nearly $400 total), but it’s much less than the 2-10 THOUSAND dollars the prep companies will try to charge you.
3. Download the free copies of the the AAMC’s outlines to MCAT Science Content.
4. Use those guides and online resources (wikipremed, wikipedia, etc.) to build up your own science review notes to learn the content.
Next, if you’re not comfortable totally “going it alone” on the science content, you can buy a set of prep books for around $100. If you’re willing to take a chance on used books, you can often get them for much less.
For practice exams, if you’re looking to go beyond the AAMC, a company called Gold Standard publishes a set of 10 exams for only $15 each (roughly).
All told, there’s absolutely no reason to drop two thousand dollars on an ineffective lecture course from a prep company. You can do completely solid, totally reliable and effective prep for less than half that.