Frequently Asked Questions
How does CurveSetter compare to other MCAT test prep options?
When it comes to studying for one of the most important exams of your career, you deserve the absolute best. CurveSetter prides itself in allowing only the highest MCAT scorers in the United States to serve as content creators for the company. We guarantee that all the material on the CurveSetter MCAT Prep platform was developed by medical students who received 100th percentile scores each on their first attempt of the new MCAT. At other MCAT prep companies, there is often no transparency as to who created the content. Who are the people behind it all? What did they get on the MCAT? Have they even taken the MCAT at all? If you can’t answer these questions, you might want to reconsider using their services. A company that isn’t fully transparent must have something to hide. At CurveSetter, we make all of our credentials available and let you make the value judgements.
What else is included in the course?
Detailed notes for each lecture as well as a “Physics Essentials” mini-book. CARS strategy videos teaching you how to read mundane passages. All material housed on our interactive and intuitive learning platform, which enables students to track their progress, watch lectures at varying increments of speed, engage in discussion boards for each lecture, and is fully mobile
What is the difference between CurveSetter and other large MCAT prep companies?
CurveSetter prides itself in allowing only the highest MCAT scorers in the United States to serve as tutors for the company. Our guarantee is that your CurveSetter MCAT tutor will, at the very least, have scored in the 99th percentile (522+) on the new MCAT. At large MCAT prep companies, there is no such guarantee. While they claim to have a “selective” process, they offer no further information or evidence to support that claim. In fact, many of our past students reported that the tutors at other companies frequently taught concepts incorrectly and were unable to answer many of their questions. CurveSetter is completely transparent about the identity of our management team and tutors. If you wish to see the test scores of any of our tutors (if they are not already posted on our site) we will provide it to you immediately. To the best of our knowledge, no other MCAT prep company in the world does this. Finally, our services are focused and personalized. Because our company lacks the overhead and bureaucracy associated with overly large test prep companies, we are able to connect with our students on a personal level, provide them with only the information that they need, and give them the confidence to become high scorers.
How is the pricing compared to other courses offered by the competitors?
Due to our low overhead and focus on just MCAT prep, we are able to offer prices that are 50-75% less than our competitors. At just $499, our Self-Paced Course is one of the most affordable options on the market, and teaches you everything you will need to know for the MCAT. For students who just need to learn/review specific subjects for the MCAT, our single-subject “Crash Courses” are extremely affordable–ranging in price from $50 to $150 (depending on the number of lectures).
Why is our self-paced course better than a structured ‘live online’ or ‘in-person’ course for MCAT prep?
From our tutors’ and students’ experience, these structured, classroom-style MCAT courses are often ineffective and problematic for a number of reasons. These courses are frequently taught by inadequate or inexperienced tutors whose credentials are unknown, and who are often unable to discuss the content beyond their prescribed lesson plan. Furthermore, because these courses have a set schedule/timeline, the pace is entirely up to the company, rather than the students’ needs. As a result, the content is usually delivered at a pace too slow for experienced students (i.e. those with previous MCAT experience or fresh out of prerequisite courses), and too quick for less experienced students. Additionally, our students have expressed frustrations about the amount of time that is spent in these classes on questions from other individuals that are completely irrelevant to them. Finally, the inability for these courses to be structured according to one’s specific needs (work and school schedule, duration of studying, individual strengths and weakness, etc.) is cause for significant concern. The CurveSetter Self-Paced MCAT Prep Course was created in response to these concerns, and tackles them all. It was created specifically for the new MCAT by three 100th percentile scorers with extensive experience, whose credentials are unquestionably available. Furthermore, although we have included a detailed and effective sample study schedule, the pacing and timeline can be easily modulated according to each student’s needs. For example, the guide suggests which content should be introduced and reviewed on a given “study day”. A busy individual with a far-off test date may complete 3 “study days” worth of material per week, while a student under a compressed timeline may complete 8 “study days” worth of material in a week. Finally, as the lecture videos and slide sets can be revisited as many times as needed, students can spend additional time rewatching and reviewing their weaker subjects, while going more quickly through their stronger ones.
How is the Self-Paced Course different watching all of the Khan Academy videos?
A common problem that we see with students who are studying for the MCAT is that they become overwhelmed with trying to learn an infeasible amount of content, much of which is unnecessary, in a few short months. Many prep companies unfortunately inundate students with so much material and excess detail that students are unable to prioritize their studying, and end up failing to solidify the central, high-yield concepts that are at the core of the MCAT. Khan Academy is great when students need a more thorough review of a very specific concept, but we believe that it is infeasible to study for the MCAT using these videos as one’s primary source. There are simply too many KA MCAT videos (over 1,000, according to their website), most of which move at a pace too slow for the average student and go into too much unnecessary detail. Furthermore, many of their videos are simply copied over from general KA subject courses, and were not explicitly designed for the new MCAT. Conversely, our Self-Paced Course is targeted, extremely efficient, and high-yield, enabling students to learn all that they will need to know for this test – no more, no less – in a realistic time frame.
What about practice materials?
Once the content has been mastered by students, practicing implementing this knowledge into the framework of the test, mastering timing, and developing strategy is a very important part of preparing for this test. For this reason, we recommend that all students purchase the complete AAMC practice materials package (either the “Complete Bundle” or the “Online-Only Bundle”). This includes 4 full length tests, a section bank specific to natural and behavioral sciences, and 6 subject-specific question packs. These practice materials are the most representative of what you will see on the MCAT, as they are written by the test-makers themselves. We strongly recommend completing and thoroughly reviewing all of this material, and usually suggest that students save a majority of the practice material for after they have reviewed the content.
What are the qualifications of CurveSetter tutors?
All CurveSetter tutors and course creators are among the highest MCAT scorers in the country (achieved at least a 99th percentile score on the first attempt) and have many years of experience in MCAT tutoring and test preparation. Our tutors were accepted to and attend the highest ranked medical schools in the United States including Harvard, Stanford, UCSF, Johns Hopkins, and Columbia and have received awards for their research and teaching experience. As current medical students, all our our tutors and course creators are personally very familiar with the experience of studying for and taking the MCAT, and the process of applying to medical school. After conquering these daunting challenges ourselves, and helping hundreds of our students do the same, we are extremely equipped to help you in this journey.
What type of teaching methods are used at CurveSetter?
At CurveSetter, we realize that students have vastly different learning styles: some auditory, some visual, and many a mix of both. However, research shows that learning is most effective when the student is exposed to the material through as many different mediums as possible, over and over again throughout a relatively long period of time. For this reason, we blend teaching styles together: offering text in the form of notes, clear and precise video lectures, and beautiful images and figures to supplement the lessons. Furthermore, the study schedule in our Self-Paced Course was modelled after the “spiral curriculum”. This is an evidence-based method of learning that our course creators experienced in their own curriculum as students at the UCSF School of Medicine. In this model, learning and long-term retention is optimized by ensuring that students are exposed to concepts more than once over an extended period of time.
How long does it take to watch some of the CurveSetter Self-Paced videos?
Many MCAT prep courses offered by other companies will bombard you with content, much of it extraneous and unnecessary for the exam, to justify their high prices. At CurveSetter, we promise to provide you with only the information that is considered “fair game” on the MCAT – nothing more and nothing less. For this reason, our courses are compact and manageable (our Physics course for example totals to just 9 hours of video time). However, this does not mean that you can learn all of MCAT physics in just one day, as the material may be complex and requires time to process and memorize. But through practice, review of the videos, and memorization of the content, our efficient and high-yield course will allow you to master the required content in the shortest amount of time possible. Specifically, the Self-Paced Course is comprised of 64 total video lectures. These lectures range in length from about 30 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, and average out at about 50 minutes. In addition to the time spent watching each lecture, students ideally should spend an additional couple hours to process, review, and memorize the material covered in each video.
What is the problem that the founder of CurveSetter is trying to solve? What makes him an expert?
As a student who was once studying for the exam and looking for prep courses, and now is the founder of the fastest-growing MCAT prep company in the world, Alex has been on both sides of the equation. While preparing for the MCAT, the major issues that our founder had with other prep companies were their extremely high prices, their lack of transparency regarding the credentials of their staff, and the unnecessarily overwhelming nature of their courses. Our course has been created from the ground up for the new MCAT by 100th percentile scorers who currently attend some of the top medical schools in the country and have extensive experience working with and tutoring students of all backgrounds. We are up-front and transparent with our students, and more than happy to share our scores and our credentials. Furthermore, we have created our lessons by explicitly following the Official AAMC Content Guide, including all information delineated by this guide but none of the extra fluff or unnecessary details that other prep companies jam into their courses. Finally, at only $499.99, our Self-Paced Course is one of the most affordable options on the market.
How do I know that CurveSetter is actually effective?
We at CurveSetter believe that efficacy claims should be backed by hard data and not just personal anecdotes found in reviews. So, we contacted past CurveSetter MCAT students who had used our services for at least eight weeks and asked them report their official MCAT scores and whether they saw an improvement. We are proud to announce that CurveSetter MCAT students on average score in the top 5% of test takers and see sizable score increases on the official exam. Feel free to take a closer look at our outcomes data by visiting the Reviews page.