Attempting to pass the MCAT is a significant undertaking which you shouldn’t take lightly.
After a solid review of the course material, you need to concentrate on completing full-length practice tests regularly.
Crushing these tests requires a lot of self-discipline, but it’s the number one activity that will lead to a higher score on the actual test.
Working with tests will allow you to develop mental focus and concentration required to sit through 7,5 hours of hard-core mental effort.
Know that your score will depend on the quality of the tests you take before the final deadline.
In short, it’s best to start with materials from the AAMC, and then work your way through the other resources (more on that later). Below you’ll find a list of 10 different sources of practice tests along with links.
Many of them are free (you will usually need to create an account on the website to gain access). But others are paid (usually around $40 per full-length test).
I think it’s worth to invest in at least a couple of paid ones (especially from AAMC) because as always in life – you get what you pay for.
Here’s a list of links to the top MCAT practice tests:
1. AAMC Full-Length Practice Exams – 3 Paid MCAT Tests ($35 each)
2. Princeton Review – 1 Free MCAT Test (the company also offers a package of 8 full-length tests for $299)
3. Kaplan – 1 Free Half-Length MCAT Test
4. Khan Academy – Dozens of free MCAT practice questions
5. NextStep – Half-length (free) MCAT diagnostic exam (the company also offers a bundle of three full-length tests for $99)
6. Exam Krackers – 6 Full-length practice exams (Paid – $40 each)
7. Altius MCAT Prep – 1 Free MCAT Test (the company also offers paid practice tests – $40 a pop)
8. Varsity Tutors – Up to 10 (free) diagnostic MCATs
9. MCATPrep.com – 1 Free MCAT Test
10. Magoosh MCAT Study Course – Up to 3 full-length tests and a cool mobile learning platform ($299)
Which of these tests are worth your attention?
There is a big debate online about which practice tests are of the highest quality and which ones should you start with.
The consensus seems to be that the materials from AAMC are the best, and you should go through them first. The next one on your list should be the Next Step. After that, you can go with Exam Krackers, Altius, the Princeton Review, and Kaplan.
Be aware that another way to get your hands on some of the best practice materials is to sign up for one of the MCAT prep courses.
These can cost up to $3000, but they’ll provide you with up to 10 full-length tests that you’ll have to complete and later analyze along with a skilled instructor. I wrote a review of the “3 Best MCAT Prep Courses To Take” so feel free to check it out.
And here’s an in-depth overview of the practice tests offered by different companies:
Taking full-length tests designed by an organization that produces the actual tests is a must. Materials from AAMC are the gold standard when it comes to MCAT preparation.
They are most similar to what you’ll face on your test day so you should start with these, especially if you are running out of prep time.
At this point, AAMC offers four practice exams on their website, each of which costs $35.
Included are 213 questions that look identical to what you will encounter during the actual MCAT (you even use the same timer like on real MCAT). After completing each practice session, you will be able to get a scaled score and percentile rank.
After purchasing one of these tests, you will have access to it for 15 months.
I advise you to save one of these tests to complete a week before attempting the real MCAT. It should give you an accurate prediction of your score.
2. Princeton Review
The free practice test you can find on the Princeton Review website is a bit hard and content-heavy. I think the point is to make it look harder so perhaps you will sign up for one of TPR’s prep courses.
You can still try it as it’s free so you have nothing to lose. To sign up, you need to create an account on the website (but you can continue with your Facebook account, so no big deal). You can also buy a package of 8 full-length tests for $299.
But to gain access to premium prep materials, you would need to sign up for one of the prep courses.
Then you would get access to eight full-length tests that are still slightly more difficult than the materials provided by AAMC. But they should give you solid prep. On average, you can expect 10 points more on the real exam compared to what you would get from TPR.
Kaplan offers one, on-demand free half-length practice test on their website. You only need to create a free account, and you’re ready to start.
If the practice tests from the Princeton Review are a little bit harder than the real world exam, then the ones from Kaplan are a little bit easier.
Many students who completed them and scored way above the 500 point mark, realized that they could barely achieve 500 when completing a practice test from AAMC. So watch out here!
However, this practice test is still valuable, as it will give you scores for each section like behavioral sciences, biochemistry, CARS, and general chemistry.
Kaplan also offers prep courses for the MCAT (at around $2500). Once you sign up, you’ll get access to eight full-length practice tests. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get hold of more materials from Kaplan.
They also offer a seven-book subject review bundle that includes three full-length practice tests.
4. Khan Academy
Khan Academy doesn’t offer a full-length test per se, but on their website, you can find hundreds of free MCAT practice questions.
They are broken down into several different categories:
- Critical analysis and reasoning skills practice questions
- Biological and biochemical foundations of living systems
- Chemical and physical foundations of biological systems
- Psychological, social, and biological foundations of behaviors
- Organ systems
- Physical processes
- Chemical processes
- Processing the environment
- Individuals in society
- Society and culture
- Social inequality
For example, you can get a free overview of the CARS section, and then complete over 30 practice questions only for this section.
Of course, it’s not like completing a full-length test, but it’s a great way to practice especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on extra materials.
Khan Academy is also great if you just want to brush up on a specific subsection of the test (like enzyme kinetics or the endocrine system).
After the materials from AAMC, the Next Step should be the next thing you attack throughout your prep. Over 50,000 students used materials from Next Step, as they’re representative of the real-world test, just like ones from AAMC.
The testing platform resembles the updated AAMC’s interface, providing you with the highlighting and strikeout features and keyboard shortcuts.
To get access to these materials, you have to sign up on the Next Step website. You will then receive a practice bundle that includes a diagnostic exam, one full-length MCAT practice exam as well as a 2-hour video lesson.
This is already a lot of stuff you can get for free. But of course, if you want to gain access to the real deal, you will have to pay.
There are three different bundles available:
- The first one is $99 and will give you access to four practice tests.
- The second one is $149 and will give you six tests in total.
- The third one costs $249 and will give you six-month access to 10 separate practice exams.
I think that if you are serious about getting a high score on the test, you should invest in at least one of these bundles.
6. Exam Krackers
Exam Krackers offer six full-length practice exams. Unfortunately, there is no free option so you will have to pay for each and one of them.
The good thing is that you don’t have to decide on buying a whole bundle like with other companies. You can buy each practice test separately for $40.
These tests are a little bit harder than what you will get from AAMC, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After the purchase, you will have access to your tests for six months, and you can take them as many times as you want.
What I like about these is that they are formatted in a way that matches the real MCAT in terms of style and presentation. This is important as you will learn how to operate better in the actual test-taking environment.
As a bonus, you also get a user’s guide and FAQ that will help you to improve your score. You can also check your answers as you go if you prefer to practice in this way.
7. Altius MCAT Prep
While many students appreciate the tests from Altius, at this point, their materials seem to be a bit outdated. The last version of the test available on the website is from 2015.
Yes, that’s precisely when the new MCAT came out, so the test comes in the new format. But 2015 was a long time ago and since then the questions (and perhaps even answers, have changed).
However, if you’re still inclined to give it a try, you can do it. The good thing about these tests is that they resemble materials from the AAMC more closely than those from Kaplan or Princeton Review.
You can grab one full-length practice test for $40, a bundle of 5 for $175 or a full package of 10 for $300.
8. Varsity Tutors
I like the approach that Varsity Tutors have to education. On their website, you can find dozens of practice tests for free.
Indeed, these are not full-length tests as you can only crunch them section by section. But all in all their materials are something you may want to check out.
There are ten diagnostic tests for MCAT biology, eight for MCAT physical and six for the verbal section of the test.
The best part is that to gain access to these materials you don’t even have to create an online account or give away your email address.
You can open the website and start practicing right away. Of course, you cannot expect the same quality as with paid tests. But if you are on a budget and looking for a quick practice session, this should be among your top picks.
Here you can get free access to an abbreviated version of the test (around one-third of the real thing). After completing your practice session, you will receive raw scores and compare your results with those of other students.
All you need to do to get your hands on 78 practice questions is to create a free account. The purpose of the website is to entice you to grab one of their premium options, so keep that in mind.
You can easily upgrade two full-length practice tests for $10. You can also grab MCAT book with seven full-length MCATs for $35.95, or you can sign up for an MCAT course for $49.95.
I only recommend going with the first option so you can get your full test for $10.
10. Magoosh MCAT Study Course
Magoosh offers some of the best and most affordable MCAT prep courses out there. Their mobile app is fantastic, and you can use it to crunch through hundreds of practice questions while on the go.
The course is only $299 for 12 months of access. It contains 745 practice questions in total, each of which comes with a detailed explanation section by section.
You can also go into full-length test mode and burst through up to three full MCATs with a timer. That’s not a bad deal given the fact that you’ll also get 380 video lessons covering every part of the exam.
Important – don’t rely on only one source of the MCAT tests
One of the most important things to know is that you shouldn’t take MCAT tests from only one company. It’s always better to diversify as the difficulty levels of tests may vary from one company to the other.
For example, practice tests from the Princeton Review are a little bit more complicated than the actual MCAT. On the other hand, tests from Kaplan may be a bit easier than the real-world test.
It’s not only about the difficulty but also about how questions are stated and what kind of concepts are tested.
That’s why I recommend completing full-length tests from at least two or three different sources.
When should you take the full-length tests?
It’s best to start completing full-length practice tests when you are around halfway through your prep. It’s best to first concentrate on your review materials and build the knowledge base necessary to tackle different types of questions. Only then you can start testing this knowledge.
So for example, if you give yourself eight months to study, spent the first four on review, and then the next four on completing as many full-length practice tests as possible.
Other materials and resources that include full-length MCAT tests
Besides going through separate tests and paying $40 to $50 for each of them, you can decide to buy MCAT prep books that also contain updated tests.
The best part about this solution is that you can get your tests for much cheaper, then if you just bought them online separately.
Here are a couple of examples of books you can grab on Amazon that gives you access to more tests you would ever care to complete:
MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review
These prep books from Kaplan are an absolute must-have for a pre-med student. The seven volumes comprise some of the best MCAT review material ever written. The books are also updated each year, so make sure you’ll get the latest version.
But here, the kicker is that along with the books you will get access to three full-length practice exams. You can complete them in an online environment that looks just like what you’ll get on the real world exam.
All in all, the whole package costs a little bit over $150. This is a low price given the fact that you would pay the same only for a couple of practice tests. But here you get 3500+ pages of extra useful materials you can use to boost your prep efforts.
The Princeton Review MCAT Subject Review Complete Box
The Princeton Review is the main competitor to Kaplan, and it also offers excellent MCAT prep courses.
However, for students who can’t afford to spend $2500 on the course, there’s a different solution – well designed MCAT prep books.
You can get them for a bit over $100, and along with the seven tomes, you will gain access to three online-based full-length MCAT practice tests.
These tests are of much higher quality than the free test from Princeton Review listed above. Overall, they are more complicated than the tests from AAMC, but they also allow you to approach medical concepts from different angles.
What’s great is that they will enable you to benchmark your score, and after each completed test, you will get a quick analysis of your results.
7 Full-length MCAT Practice Tests: 5 in the Book and 2 Online
This is a type of prep material that more students should know about. This is probably the cheapest way to get seven full-length MCAT practice tests. The book costs less than $30 and enables you to complete five tests in the book and two online.
All in all, that’s 1610 practice questions that follow the AAMC format quite closely. The book is almost 600 pages long, and it’s a great companion for timed practice.
The only thing is that you will not find the answers within the book, as all of them are available online (no big deal).
Preparing for MCAT doesn’t have to be complicated. If you focus on completing full-length practice tests regularly, you are bound to succeed during the real-world test.
Of course, it’s hard to complete a 7.5-hour challenge every week as it’s taxing your precious brain. That’s why sometimes it’s better to tackle separate sections of the test one by one and complete full-length tests around twice a month (this will depend on your schedule and the deadline for the test).
It’s mighty important that you work with materials provided by two or three companies to approach problems from multiple angles. You should start with the materials from the AAMC and then move on to other ones listed in this article.