posted by Memm
There’s no shortage of MCAT tutoring services out there, but is MCAT tutoring something you need? In this post, we’ll examine how to choose the best MCAT tutor for you.
At Med School Insiders, we wholeheartedly believe in our systematic and customized approach, but we want you to make the choice that’s right for you. We’ll cover whether or not MCAT tutoring is worth it, what to look for when choosing a tutor or tutoring service, and red flags to watch out for when you make your decision.
According to AAMC, 62,443 people applied to medical school in 2021-2022. Of that number, 22,666 applicants successfully matriculated. This means only 36% of applicants got into medical school.
Whether or not you seek out an admissions consultancy or MCAT tutoring is completely up to you, so long as you feel confident that you’ll make it into that 36%.
A good MCAT tutor works alongside you to pinpoint the exact areas you need to focus on in order to improve your MCAT score. They are there to guide you, answer your questions, help you build confidence, keep you accountable, and, most importantly, help you achieve a competitive MCAT score.
1. MCAT Tutoring Assesses Your Strengths and Weaknesses—MCAT tutors can provide an unbiased assessment of your strengths and weaknesses to ensure your study habits work for you, not against you. They help you decide which section you should devote the most attention to so you don’t walk into your MCAT prep with tired study strategies that aren’t tailored to your weak areas.
2. MCAT Tutoring Makes Efficient Use of Your Time—It’s not enough to devote most of your time to studying if that time is not spent effectively. MCAT tutors can determine where your efforts are best spent by working with you to develop a customized approach to studying.
3. MCAT Tutoring Helps You Determine When You Are Ready—Deciding when to take the MCAT is tough. Many people delay taking the MCAT for far too long, believing they are not ready when they are actually more than prepared. MCAT tutors objectively assess how your studying is going to help you decide when you are ready to take the MCAT.
4. MCAT Tutoring Provides Peace of Mind—Speaking with MCAT experts and seeking their advice will calm your nerves and bring you peace of mind. MCAT tutors take out the guesswork, providing insider advice to prepare you for exactly what to expect during the study process and on test day itself.
5. MCAT Tutoring is a Comparatively Small Expense—While MCAT tutoring is another expense, it’s just a drop in the much larger bucket of medical school expenses. It will cost you even more time and money if you don’t do well and have to retake the test. It all comes down to budgeting for your own education. MCAT tutoring comes at a cost, but the gain is that you enter your MCAT with 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—The main reason to choose MCAT tutoring is to increase your score. Unless you are completely confident you can obtain a perfect score, there’s always room for improvement. You can retake the MCAT, but retaking the MCAT should not be considered lightly. It will cost you more money, and there’s also no guarantee you’ll perform better the next time around unless you drastically redesign your study habits.
Learn more: Is MCAT Tutoring Worth It?
Whether or not you might benefit from an MCAT tutor depends entirely on your specific circumstances, but in general, MCAT tutoring can benefit anyone who wants to improve their score.
In saying that, if you already have a near-perfect score or your score is well above the average of matriculants for the schools you hope to attend, you’re better off focusing on other areas of your application. Which areas are the weakest, and where could you improve? You may benefit from one-on-one advising from an admissions consultant service to help you pinpoint which areas of improvement will make the largest impact.
It’s important to seek out tutors who were top performers themselves. Top performers went above and beyond to ace the MCAT, so they’ll push you beyond the kind of surface-level study strategies easily found online. Top performers know what it takes to stand out, so they are the people best equipped to tutor you. They understand the necessity of integrating all aspects of your lifestyle into your study strategy, and most importantly, they know how to do it.
That said, it’s also vital to find someone with a lot of experience tutoring. After all, just because you did well yourself doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be able to help someone else do the same.
The tutor you choose must be a top performer and have plenty of experience successfully tutoring students.
Your MCAT tutor needs to be able to pinpoint your main area of weakness in order to improve your score with the least amount of effort. Yes, it’s possible and even likely that each area could use improvement, but due to your limited time and resources, it’s best to identify the biggest bang for your buck.
There are three main domains when it comes to success on the MCAT: content mastery, test taking skills, and critical thinking. Different people excel in different domains and struggle in others. We also all have unique learning styles and work habits. This means the same tutoring approach won’t work for every individual. There’s no one-size-fits-all study strategy that’s going to guarantee every student success on the MCAT.
The best services have a thorough background process they use to match you with the tutor and study process best suited to your unique needs. Look for a tutoring service that tailors study strategies to your habits and lifestyle. They must be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses to ensure you’re focusing on the areas that will create the most impact.
There’s a lot more to optimizing your studying than implementing a list of strategies and using new tools. An MCAT tutor should help you study smarter, not harder. The best tutors know that when you study, where you study, what you eat, when you exercise, and your sleep habits matter, so they offer a lot more than simple study hacks.
You’re taking the MCAT because you want to be a medical student and, one day, a professional physician. This means you need to find ways to optimize your time management, sleep, diet, and mental health. Your personal and professional life must support each other and blend together seamlessly as you pursue your goal and long after you’ve achieved it.
Effective MCAT tutors take into account your weaknesses and entire lifestyle to provide you with an all-encompassing approach to studying tailor-made for you.
Don’t underestimate reviews, as they can tell you a great deal about what you can expect from the tutoring service. Read as many reviews as possible as you weigh your options, and watch out for reviews that lack detail or sound too good to be true.
It’s also important not to rely exclusively on the reviews provided by the tutoring service. Dig deeper through outside sources within your personal network and on Reddit to see what other students are saying.
Look for reviews that provide clear examples about the experience and detail precisely how the tutoring earned them an improved MCAT score. A review that only says, “they helped me raise my MCAT score from X to X,” doesn’t provide you with enough information about the experience or the methods the tutor used. Look for in-depth reviews that reveal the how and why behind the fantastic service.
“After receiving my tutor, I thought that he would only be able to help with content and tips, but I soon realized that he was supporting me in every way. I not only felt supported as a student, but also as an individual who was beginning their journey to medical school. I was amazed with my tutor’s experience and knowledge on nearly every subject and test question. He offered me words of wisdom, he was enthusiastic about my success, he acknowledged my fears, and, most importantly, he motivated me to score better than I had ever imagined!”
“My tutor’s help throughout my MCAT preparation was invaluable. She not only helped me strengthen my test-taking abilities and improve my areas of weakness, but she also served as a source of support. My tutor was able to provide perspective and help me prioritize my mental health throughout the process. I’m thankful to have had this guidance as I achieved my goals, and achieved acceptance into medical school.”
“My tutor knew exactly where I should focus my study efforts and helped design a study strategy that really worked with my life. Before, I thought that all I needed to do to ace the MCAT was study more, but she showed me the areas that would actually make the biggest difference for me, and she was right! I’ve now been accepted to my dream medical school, and I know I couldn’t have done that without the comprehensive guidance I received.”
These reviews provide important insight into the tutoring experience. The students were able to work one-on-one with a tutor, and the study strategy they provided was tailored to the student’s habits.
Look for in-depth reviews that go beyond a simple recommendation to explain why the service was helpful and worthwhile.
What’s the tutor’s or tutoring service’s success rate? Do they have proof to back it up? While reviews are excellent at providing an inside look into how other students felt while working with the tutor, it’s important to see the results. Did working with the tutor actually yield a tremendous MCAT score?
Of course, ethically speaking, no tutor or tutoring service should promise a specific or perfect MCAT score. However, they must have a visible success rate, and they must have a range of success stories that show how their study strategies led students to outstanding success on the MCAT.
When it comes to selecting the MCAT tutor who is right for you, consider quantity as well as quality. How long have they been an MCAT tutor? How many students have they led to success on the MCAT?
In order to keep their success rates high, some tutoring services intentionally screen out candidates they deem less qualified. It’s important to be wary of this. The entire process must be transparent, from pricing to expectations to included services to access of services.
Employ a healthy skepticism when assessing online success rates. If you’re suspicious in any way, ask for proof or more examples.
You’re dealing with your regular college coursework, preparing medical school application materials, and studying for the MCAT. In other words, you’re uncomprehendingly busy. This is why it’s important to find a tutoring service that’s flexible and ready to work around your schedule.
The tutor or tutoring service you choose absolutely must be able to work around your own unique needs. This includes working with you before or after the traditional 9 to 5 workday, as well as time zone scheduling. The best tutors will adapt to your schedule not only because it’s more effective but because they’ve been through this before too. They know how busy you are, so they can easily empathize with your struggles.
If the tutoring service can’t work with your schedule, it’s a clear sign they won’t be able to tailor their study strategies to you.
Find a tutoring service that’s a leader in the space. Is the information on their website up-to-date and accurate? Are they aware of any updates to the MCAT? What resources are available on their website? Do they have blog articles and guides, and if so, are they thorough? Do they regularly update their content? Do they have a successful YouTube channel? Are they active on social media?
Choose a tutoring service that is a leader in the industry. The company should have well-established tools and resources that are regularly updated.
The tutor you choose shouldn’t hide behind murky information or vague promises. Look for a tutor who is upfront and honest with you. They should make absolutely clear what to expect and exactly what you’re paying for.
Pay attention to the details. How many hours are included? Are they able to work around your schedule? How have other students fared? You should be able to find this information on the tutoring service’s website, and it should be as straightforward as possible. These aren’t difficult questions to answer, so if the tutoring service is evasive, they’re likely not the one for you (or anyone… except maybe your competition.)
1. Lack of Quality Reviews—While one or two bad reviews may be sour grapes, multiple bad or questionable reviews are a clear red flag.
2. Few or Tough to Find Reviews—Watch out for a lack of reviews as well. You may only be seeing good reviews because the company is ignoring or filtering the bad reviews.
3. A Sparse Website—You should be able to see who you will be working with as well as the company’s process. An established and reliable medical school consultancy won’t be modest about demonstrating their knowledge, experience, and qualifications.
4. Free Services—When it comes to MCAT tutoring, you get what you pay for. Tutoring services that offer free services are doing so by cutting corners.
5. Limited or No Real Doctors on Staff—Look for doctors on staff when choosing an MCAT tutoring service. Not having real doctors and people who have succeeded on the MCAT themselves is a clear red flag.
Memm is the ultimate MCAT resource. It helps students effortlessly organize information to accelerate their MCAT learning with ease and efficiency. With Memm, you’ll master the high-yield information you’ll need to excel on the MCAT.
For additional guidance, Med School Insiders offers Comprehensive Medical School Admissions Packages and a Premed Roadmap Course that will help you with every aspect of the medical school application process, including the MCAT.
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