Is MCAT Tutoring Worth It?

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Is MCAT tutoring worth it? In this post, we’ll answer that question, digging into the advantages of MCAT tutoring and what it means for prospective students.

The MCAT is not a test to be entered lightly. If you’re a prospective medical student and you’re feeling nervous about taking the MCAT, rest assured that the massive test deserves your apprehension. But before you develop an entire study process from scratch, remember that you’re not in this alone. So many people before you have successfully taken the MCAT, and they know exactly what strategies work and how to optimize your efforts.

Learn more about MCAT tutoring, including why a high score is important, why MCAT tutoring could be well worth your investment, and how other forms of study prep compare.

 

The Importance of the MCAT

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a 7.5-hour standardized exam. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon—and a demanding, exhausting one at that. It tests your ability to understand and remember a massive amount of basic information related to medicine, as well as your ability to perform well on standardized tests under pressure.

It’s not optional. You must not only pass but perform exceptionally well on this test in order to matriculate to medical school. While your MCAT score is by no means the only metric when it comes to your likelihood of being accepted, a high score is one of the most vital pieces of your medical school application, and it can determine what schools you’re able to apply to.

The MCAT is divided into four multiple choice sections designed to assess an applicant’s foundational science knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Each section is worth 132 for a total perfect MCAT score of 528.

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (Bio/BioChem)
    • Time: 95 minutes
    • Score Range: 118-132
    • Number of Questions: 59 total (44 passage-related,15 standalone)
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (Chem/Phys)
    • Time: 95 minutes
    • Score Range: 118-132
    • Number of Questions: 59 total (44 passage-related,15 standalone)
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (Psych/Soc)
    • Time: 95 minutes
    • Score Range: 118-132
    • Number of Questions: 59 total (44 passage-related,15 standalone)
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS)
    • Time: 90 minutes
    • Score Range: 118-132
    • Number of questions: 53 total (all passage-related)

MCAT Sections Breakdown

The MCAT is a very difficult test that requires many, many hours of tireless preparation and skill building.

For more information about the MCAT, read our articles: MCAT Sections: What’s on the MCAT, MCAT CARS Section Guide, and MCAT Score Breakdown: Old vs. New.

 

What’s a Good MCAT Score?

The vast majority of medical schools suggest having a minimum GPA of 3.0 and an MCAT score of 500 (125 in each section). But honestly, you will have to score much higher in order to be a serious contender.

Average MCAT score for matriculants:

  • AMCAS MCAT Score Average: 511.5
  • AACOMAS MCAT Score Average: 503.8
  • TMDSAS MCAT Score Average: 510.8

Once again, these are only averages. You should aim for higher if you hope to be a competitive candidate.

You also need to consider each of the specific schools you are applying to. Some schools are more competitive than others, and each one has a different expectation of what a competitive MCAT score is.

For more information, read our article: What MCAT Score Should You Aim For?

 

Is MCAT Tutoring Worth It?

1 | MCAT Tutoring Assesses Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Effective MCAT tutoring will provide an unbiased assessment of your strengths and weaknesses before heading into MCAT prep. One size does not fit all when it comes to studying. We each have our own academic strengths and our own studying habits. But are your study habits really working for you, and will they serve you when you’re preparing for this monumental test?

The amount of medical information you are expected to know on the MCAT is overwhelming, and it may be difficult for you to decide on your own which section you should devote the most attention to. And aside from your academic strengths and weaknesses, how, when, and where do you do your best studying?

It’s important to keep in mind that you have never taken a test like this before—but your MCAT tutors have. Benefit from their insight so that you don’t walk into your MCAT prep with tired study strategies that aren’t tailored to your strengths and weaknesses.

2 | MCAT Tutoring Makes Efficient Use of Your Time

Your MCAT tutors will determine where your efforts are best spent by working with you to develop a customized approach to studying.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. MCAT tutors understand the study process inside and out, and they are laser-focused on getting you results. With their help, you can enter the studying phase with tried and true strategies for absorbing and retaining the most information possible—all tailored to your specific strengths, weaknesses, and habits.

It’s not enough to devote most of your time to studying if that time is not spent effectively. MCAT tutors will work with you to improve the quality of your studying, not the quantity.

Remember, the MCAT isn’t the only piece of your medical school application. Save some energy for the other important aspects of your application, like writing your personal statement or acquiring letters of recommendation.

3 | MCAT Tutoring Helps You Determine When You Are Ready

Deciding when to take the MCAT is tough. How do you know whether or not you’re ready for such an intimidating and seemingly insurmountable task?

Many people delay taking the MCAT for far too long, believing they are not ready when they are. Prolonging the process can actually hurt your score, and it makes poor use of your time. Spending 12-18 months studying is not necessarily more effective than three-four months of dedicated studying. The truth is, the more time you give yourself to study, the more likely you’ll forget important information and burnout on the process altogether.

MCAT tutors objectively assess how your studying is going, your performance on MCAT practice tests, how much delaying can improve your score, and more. They are there to help you decide when you are ready to take the MCAT so that you can go in with confidence.

There are a number of aspects to consider when deciding to take the MCAT. For more key insight, read: Should You Delay Your MCAT? How to Know If You’re Ready.

4 | MCAT Tutoring Provides Peace of Mind

There is absolutely no reason to go into this grueling process alone. So, so many people have been exactly where you are right now, and they have successfully matriculated to medical school.

Speaking with MCAT experts and seeking their advice will calm your nerves and bring you peace of mind. MCAT tutors provide insider advice to prepare you for exactly what to expect during the study process and on test day itself. They will take out the guesswork, so you know exactly where you stand before going into your test.

Don’t let your anxiety get the better of you by trying to take it all on yourself. Take advantage of the wealth of MCAT expertise available to you in order to maximize your chance of success.

5 | MCAT Tutoring is a Comparatively Small Expense

You may be avoiding MCAT tutoring because you don’t believe you have the budget for it. While MCAT tutoring can be expensive, it’s just a drop in the much larger bucket of medical school expenses.

Medical school is a significant investment. Resident students attending a public medical school spend, on average, approximately $38,000 a year on tuition, whereas non-residents spend upwards of $62,000. And regardless of whether you live in the same state as the school or not, if you attend a private medical school, you can expect to spend over $60,000 annually.

And that’s only if you have the scores to matriculate to medical school. Taking the MCAT itself also costs you. The initial registration fee for the MCAT is $320, which you’ll have to pay again if you need to retake it.

It all comes down to budgeting for your own education. Yes, MCAT tutoring comes at a cost, but you will be able to enter your MCAT with assured confidence and come out of it with a higher score than you could have achieved on your own.

6 | Bottom Line: MCAT Tutoring Will Improve Your Score

In the end, the main reason to seek out MCAT tutoring is to increase your score. With study schedules and strategies customized by real doctors to suit your strengths, weaknesses, and habits, you’ll be able to do just that in less time and with increased efficiency.

Take every advantage you can by investing in MCAT tutoring. Yes, you’re facing stiff competition from your fellow med school applicants, but the only person you’re really up against is yourself. Unless you are completely confident you can obtain a perfect score, there’s always room for improvement. Tutoring will help you achieve your absolute best.

It’s true you can retake the MCAT, so you may think that not achieving the score you wanted isn’t the end of the world. But retaking the MCAT isn’t something you should consider lightly. Not only will it cost you more money, but there’s also no guarantee you’ll perform better on the next test without assured, expert guidance—guidance you can secure the first time around with a tutor.

 

Comparing MCAT Studying Options

Of course, tutoring isn’t your only option. There are many study resources available, from traditional classroom lessons to online courses to creating your own personalized study system.

Go It Alone — Advantages

  • No additional costs.
  • Can complete on your own schedule.
  • Can design a system to meet your personality and study habits.
Go It Alone — Disadvantages

  • Need to build your own strategy from scratch.
  • Takes more time and is less efficient.
  • Difficult to assess your own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Miss out on expert insights from people who understand the process.
  • Following cookie-cutter guides makes it difficult to tailor study habits to your personal needs
  • Less structure and high amount of variability in effectiveness
MCAT Classroom — Advantages

  • Firm class schedule can help people stay on track with studying.
  • A classroom is a familiar learning environment.
  • Mid-range cost.
MCAT Classroom — Disadvantages

  • Not tailored to meet your personal needs/study habits.
  • Equal time spent on each section instead of tailored to your strengths/weaknesses.
  • Less efficient as you may repeat material you are familiar with.
  • If in person, it takes time to travel to and from the class.
  • Limited schedules and start dates.
  • Slowed down by other students as it is taught to the lowest common denominator
Online Course — Advantages

  • You can study on your own schedule.
  • Able to work from the comfort of your home/office.
  • Mid-range cost.
Online Course — Disadvantages

  • Not tailored to meet your personal needs/study habits.
  • Equal time spent on each section instead of tailored to your strengths/weaknesses.
  • Virtual learning may be less effective for some students.
  • Less efficient as you may repeat material you are familiar with.
MCAT Tutoring — Advantages

  • One-on-one support
  • Schedule designed around your personality and study habits
  • Strategy built around your strengths and weaknesses
  • Tailored approach makes the most efficient use of your time
  • Can help you decide when you are ready to take the test
  • Can work around your own schedule
  • There’s someone on your case to hold you accountable
MCAT Tutoring — Disadvantages

  • Higher cost than going it alone or using a group study method.
  • Need to trust your tutor.

MCAT Study Methods Pros and Cons

 

MCAT Tutoring Tailored to Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Med School Insiders offers MCAT tutoring customized to your specific needs. We have a diagnostic process that evaluates how you can make the greatest improvements. You’ll be matched with a top-scoring tutor for one-on-one mentorship and relationship building. It’s a custom, one-of-a-kind approach that’s based on efficiency and effectiveness.

Med School Insiders offers a range of MCAT tutoring packages, including 10 hours, 25 hours, and 40 hours, depending on your specific needs and budget. We’ll provide a customized study schedule, practice tests, recordings of every session, and more. Our tutors are all doctors who have been through the process before and excelled on the MCAT themselves (averaging >98th percentile).

We’re so confident that you’ll see great results, we have a score increase guarantee. If your score does not improve, we’ll work with you for another 5 hours free of charge.

Learn more about our MCAT tutoring services and comprehensive admissions packages.

 

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