There are many ways to study for the MCAT; group study, self-study, MCAT in-person courses or live-online courses. If you’re like me, you don’t even know where to begin studying for such an information-dense exam that combines several subjects and presents them in different ways. So after some research, I decided to enroll in The Princeton Review’s MCAT Winter Bootcamp which ran for about 4 weeks, Monday-Friday for 6 hours each day. I received a total of 11 books, one for each of the topics covered on the MCAT and other miscellaneous books. The course also comes with online access to short videos, in case you missed a class/topic, as well as question sets, many practice exams from The Princeton Review, AAMC practice exams, and much more.
During the first week of the course, we got to meet most of our instructors. They all seemed pretty knowledgeable about their respective topics, despite the fact that a lot of them were undergraduate students themselves. I know that this last detail may seem shocking but keep in mind that even though they’re students like you and me, they still undergo formal training through The Princeton Review in order to teach the class. One full day consisted of two classes, three hours each with a one-hour lunch break in between. The class is fast paced of course, but not unbearable, and all of the instructors were nice enough to pause whenever anyone had questions or needed more explanations.
Mid-way through the course I found myself feeling very neutral about the course. I felt like I had a lot of resources through the online platform as well as the Princeton books but I didn’t feel like I was retaining much of the information. I tried to keep up with the mini-homework assignments but I certainly wasn’t able to complete everything by the suggested due dates.
I knew I had a lot of work to do outside the classroom in order to make sure I could learn as much as possible.
It’s been about 5 months since I finished the Princeton Review MCAT Winter Bootcamp course and I think that the classroom-study setting just wasn’t for me. I generally like to study alone but if I would’ve chosen the self-pace or live-online courses, then I knew I wouldn’t keep up with it at all. The way I forced myself to study and get the most out of the expensive course was by signing up for the in-person course. Although, it was a little too fast-paced for me to be able to retain any information. But I do feel good knowing that I took as many notes as possible and I can refer back to it if I need clarification on science content.
The most valuable part of the course is the online content since it gives you access to many practice questions, exams, and AAMC content. The online content is what I mostly use while studying, especially since the MCAT is a computer-based test. The study books are also very helpful in terms of content review and exposure to different types of questions.