Attempting to pass the MCAT is a significant undertaking that you shouldn’t take lightly.
Dive deep into your course material and then gear up for full-length practice tests. Here’s the deal: taking these tests demands discipline but guarantees a boost in your actual test scores. It’s all about building that stamina for a grueling 7.5-hour mental marathon. Prioritize tests from AAMC and then explore other resources. I’ve listed 10 sources for you below, both free and paid. Consider investing in a few premium tests – they’re often worth the price tag. Remember, quality practice is key.
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 the best MCAT prep courses to take so feel free to check it out.
Here’s an in-depth overview of the MCAT practice tests:
While preparing for the MCAT, engaging with full-length tests formulated by the organization responsible for the actual exam is invaluable. AAMC’s materials serve as the gold standard in MCAT preparation, given their striking similarity to what you’ll confront on test day. If you’re pressed for preparation time, prioritizing AAMC’s resources is a prudent step. Presently, AAMC offers four practice exams on its website, each for $35. Each exam comprises 213 questions that closely mirror the real MCAT, right down to the very timer used. Upon completion of each test session, you’re provided with a scaled score and percentile rank. Once an exam is purchased, 15 months of access is granted. As a supplementary suggestion, consider taking an MCAT question pop quiz to further gauge your readiness and diversify your preparation methods. I’d also advise reserving one of AAMC’s practice tests to attempt about a week before your official MCAT. This will offer a reliable forecast of your test performance.
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 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 its 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 the ones from AAMC. The testing platform resembles the updated AAMC’s interface, providing you with 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 months of access to 10 separate practice exams.
I think that if you are serious about getting a high score on the test, invest in at least one of these bundles.
6. Exam Krackers
Exam Krackers offers six full-length practice exams. Unfortunately, there is no free option, so you will have to pay for every 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 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 improve your MCAT 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 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 an 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 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 because you’ll also get 380 video lessons covering every part of the exam. Learning through online platforms is increasingly popular, and if besides medicine-related content, you want to brush up on your software skills, you may explore ExamLabs, which has a host of affordable courses, just like Magoosh.
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 bit more complicated than the actual MCAT. 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 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 questions. Only then you can start testing this knowledge. So for example, if you give yourself eight months to study, spend 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, than if you just bought them online separately. Here are a couple of examples of books you can grab on Amazon that give 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. The whole package costs a bit over $150. This is a low price because 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. 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). You must 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 the other ones listed in this article.