Gold Standard offers MCAT prep courses that many students should consider. With a large amount of tests and fairly comprehensive content, this product can provide you with quite a lot of value if you know how to use it.
This review of Gold Standard’s MCAT products will provide all the information you need to decide if it’s a good fit for you.
Table of Contents
About Gold Standard MCAT
The Gold Standard MCAT prep course is a comprehensive study tool that’s helped many students get into medical school throughout its long history. It first hit the test preparation scene in 1994 with a single textbook. However, the course continually evolved to become the wealth of information and supplemental resources it is today.
Currently, Gold Standard has over 16 editions and a wealth of media to support your preparation endeavors.
While Gold Standard doesn’t have an official partnership with the AAMC, the content is well-vetted and surprisingly detailed. Like other courses, this one is updated regularly to ensure that the content is up to date and impactful enough to stick!
This course is available in many different packages, allowing you to choose the price point and review material that works best for you. At its core, Gold Standard is about providing a detailed review of the material. It acts as a refresher that can also close knowledge gaps to ensure that you’re fully prepared for the challenge of the MCAT.
Gold Standard is a bit different from other prep courses as far as sourcing goes. Not only are you getting carefully curated material that’s unique to Gold Standard, but some of the higher-tier packages also include MCAT prep books from other reputable companies. As a result, you get a varied study experience that covers all of your bases.
The pricing structure can get a bit confusing for Gold Standard. There’s a decent amount of variety, as the prep course caters to students with all budgets.
On the lower end, Gold Standard offers three subscription options. They are:
- MCAT Crash Course
- MCAT University
- MCAT CARS
All three of these packages are accessible for however long you need them. You’re free to cancel at any time, which is excellent for managing your overall MCAT prep costs.
The subscription plans are very affordable, making Gold Standard accessible to budget-conscious test-takers. More importantly, however, is the breadth of learning material. Despite the inexpensive costs, you’re getting a lot of great material.
The MCAT Crash Course subscription is the most affordable, setting you back only $29.95 per month. It includes most of the core Gold Standard material, which provides over 30 hours of video, content-rich lesson plans, ebooks, and more. This level also comes with two full-length practice courses.
Next up is MCAT University, which costs $49.95 per month. With this plan, you’re getting all the same content as the previous MCAT Crash Course. But, it also adds three more practice tests and five extra CARS practice tests with unique content.
The final subscription plan is MCAT CARS, a standalone booster product that can supplement other prep resources. The course costs $69.00 per month and comes with five timed exams, additional warm-up exercises, and lessons about testing strategies. As you can guess, this product focuses on the CARS section of the MCAT.
Premium Product Pricing
Beyond the month-to-month subscription plans, there are a few pricier options. The MCAT Home Study Course and MCAT Platinum Package come with a one-time fee. The cost of the course includes 12 months of access and more material than the more affordable subscription options.
The MCAT Home Study Course costs between $599 and $799. The difference between the two price points is the inclusion of AAMC materials. Most students opt to go for the higher price point, and the AAMC content is beneficial during your MCAT prep cycle.
The Home Study Course includes most of Gold Standard’s content, including access to the CARS material, hours of video, and digital content. It also comes with ten full-length practice tests, which come with more than 5,000 questions.
Last but not least, we have Gold Standard’s most expensive plans. The MCAT Platinum Packages cost $1,499. With that hefty price point, you get 20 full-length practice exams with more than 6,500 questions. Plus, there’s a few hours of tutoring from an MCAT expert thrown in for good measure.
The biggest perk is the inclusion of material from one of three different third-party prep courses. Gold Standard lets you choose between Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Examkrackers. The third-party content is the same thing you would get if you purchased content from those companies directly.
Curriculum & Coursework
As far as quality goes, the Gold Standard MCAT prep courses are well-designed. The curriculum has been around since the 1990s. So many iterations later, and Gold Standard continues to improve the material to ensure that it’s as helpful as possible. The course’s maturity is apparent the moment you start diving into the individual course chapters.
Most of the material comes in the form of digital ebooks. Gold Standard covers every topic and subtopic you need to know to master the MCAT. However, it’s important to remember that the course acts as a refresher.
The content does a fantastic job of illustrating points and covering core concepts, but it’s not a substitute for learning that material directly (which shouldn’t be considered a knock on the product)..
Gold Standard’s videos are great as well. They range from only a few minutes to up to 20 minutes long. While outdated by today’s standards, the way the videos summarize complex information is spot-on. Instructors are helpful and provide mnemonic devices to make the material easier to recall.
As a whole, the curriculum for MCAT prep with Gold Standard is quite good. There aren’t any structured lesson plans or any schedules you have to follow. It’s entirely self-paced. As a result, you’re free to jump through the chapters and focus on the areas of study you need most.
One of the most critical parts of MCAT preparation is completing practice tests. Luckily, Gold Standard gives you plenty of opportunities to do just that.
Depending on the plan you choose, you can complete up to 20 unique practice tests! Gold Standard also gives you the chance to buy tests individually for as low as $10.00 each. They come with unlimited attempts and have a timing feature to simulate the pressures of the real thing. Not only that, but the platform can save your history and progress for basic review later.
There are thousands of unique practice tests. Compared to some of its competitors, Gold Standard MCAT prep has the highest number of practice tests around.
The exciting thing about these exams is that they’re not just written in-house. They’re an amalgamation of content from Kaplan, Princeton Review, and ExamKrackers. Gold Standard pulls questions from those MCAT heavyweights to create tests with a ton of diversity.
Every prep course has its unique style and testing format. With Gold Standard, you can experience it all without having to pay for individual programs.
How The Content Is Delivered
Gold Standard MCAT prep offers a mix of digital and physical materials. However, most of the course material is available through ebooks or online platforms.
The digital experience is sufficient. You can read through the various course chapters, take advantage of digital study cards, and more. Whether you access the platform on a laptop, desktop, or mobile device, the experience is the same across the board.
It’s pretty easy to navigate, thanks to simple tabs. However, the user experience is a bit lacking. Most prep courses include sleek user interfaces and some fancy features to make the study experience as intuitive as possible.
That’s not the case here. Everything feels a bit clunky and outdated. Even many of the video lessons are grainy and have poor audio. Gold Standard is starting to update those videos, but many of the older ones remain.
Gold Standard’s digital content delivery platform gets the job done and has basic functionality to get you through the study cycle. But don’t expect the sleekness that other prep courses provide.
Gold Standard offers many benefits. It’s one of the more flexible MCAT prep courses around, providing options for anyone’s budget.
If you want to keep costs low, the subscription plans are cheap and full-featured. However, you can also go all-in and get the most comprehensive study resources available if you have the money to spend.
Gold Standard excels most with the testing options. This course offers the most practice tests around, beating even Kaplan and Princeton Review. Depending on your package, you can get access to 20 unique practice exams.
The course content is impressive as well. As we mentioned earlier, Gold Standard has gone through multiple iterations. With each evolution, the questions get more detailed and impactful. Pair that with the availability of materials from other prep course providers, and you’re getting a well-rounded study experience.
Many say that Gold Standard’s comprehensive nature is overkill, and practice exams are more challenging than the MCAT itself. As a result, you can go above and beyond in your preparation efforts to ensure that you have a good understanding of core concepts.
Gold Standard falls short in a few key areas.
While it may provide the most opportunities to take practice tests, the quality of those tests is hit or miss. They certainly can be helpful, but there are better options out there.
Gold Standard’s testing system is just as poorly designed as the rest of the digital platform. It’s rudimentary at best and lacks all of the detailed analytics tools that other courses have. There’s no efficient way to gauge your progress or identify weaknesses that you need to overcome.
The same goes for the course materials, too. While there’s a lot of great information to go through, the curriculum should be supplementary or act as a topic refresher. Some would argue that Gold Standard’s ebooks and digital content are nothing more than textbook content.
The course lacks true interactivity or customization. Unlike other options out there, you can’t evolve your study plans as you go. There’s a noticeable absence of analytics, which is a shame given the sheer number of practice questions available to do just that.
Finally, Gold Standard isn’t a good choice for those who thrive on structure. It’s a self-paced course that requires a lot of control and self-management to get through. That might seem beneficial to some, but most quickly realize that the material becomes overwhelming when no set routine is followed.
Other courses break the study cycle into manageable chunks that you can power through at your leisure. With Gold Standard, you have to stay on top of your study habits and create your own lesson plans to make the most of the content provided.
The Gold Standard MCAT prep course is a solid source for supplemental information and practice exams. It’s a great way to refresh your mind and get a good taste of how the real test will be.
All that said, we don’t recommend using it as your sole study tool. Gold Standard is most beneficial when you use it alongside hands-on tutoring and customized study plans. It’s no replacement for personalized courses and detailed programs, as it lacks the guidance and structure most students need to make the most out of their preparation time.
If you want to get a good MCAT score, you’ll be satisfied if you add the Gold Standard MCAT prep course to your arsenal of other study tools.