Is Khan Academy MCAT Prep a Waste Of Time?

If you have started any preparation for the MCAT you already know about Khan Academy MCAT prep: the internet’s #1 free MCAT resource.  What is Khan Academy?  And is it a waste of time to watch the 100s of hours of videos?

The idea of Khan Academy is simple: it is a non-profit, educational organization, whose goal is to provide education to the public for free.  The bulk of Khan Academy is short youtube videos, compiled together in order to cover a vast array of subjects.  In the MCAT portion of Khan Academy, they have the free youtube videos (as well as some informative PDFs here and there) and plenty of practice questions.

Check out Khan Academy MCAT prep here.

Here is what you should consider when studying Khan academy MCAT material.

The Videos

Personally, I find the Khan Academy videos very helpful.  I originally started with Kaplan’s complete box set, and then I decided to watch the Khan Academy videos to get another angle on certain subjects.  Khan Academy organizes their information differently than Kaplan; I believe that when studying a heavy topic (such as the MCAT) it is useful to learn the material from multiple perspectives in order to help solidify the information.

Additionally, the Khan Academy videos present the material in a simple, yet thorough manner which really helps reinforce the basics.  I find that the Kaplan material can get a little confusing when you start soaking in lots of material from multiple subjects.  Khan Academy helps slow things down so that you can be in union with the foundation of each subject. 

Not to mention, it’s all video and visual representations.  This can really help with understanding certain things that weren’t so clear on paper.

Check out this example:

The MCAT Practice problems

The Khan Academy MCAT practice questions were okay.  They don’t have explanations as to why the answer is correct or incorrect.  However, it’s free, and as I mentioned before: you can never have too many practice problems.

Even though there aren’t explanations of the problems, one can make the argument that this will force you into doing more research on a topic. When you get a question wrong and you can’t figure out why you will end up going back to the material to figure out why you got that question wrong. This is a more active form of learning than simply reading the provided explanation.

As far as the quality of the questions goes, they seem to be kind of tricky.  They don’t imitate actual MCAT questions as well as the AAMC official guide does, but they do help stimulate your thought process in order to get a better grasp of the material. 

Also, Khan Academy provides an option to “report a problem” with each question.

This keeps the validity of the questions intact because anyone can inform Khan Academy of false information.

Practicing questions is essential for this exam.  Even though these questions aren’t’ the best, I definitely recommend doing them if you have the time.

Khan Academy MCAT prep designs their material in cooperation with the official AAMC 


Every MCAT study plan needs to incorporate all the practice material that the AAMC has to offer. Because there is only a finite amount of AAMC Mcat practice material, we resort to other MCAT sources.

However, different third party MCAT practice material differ in how close they resemble the actual MCAT exam.

The AAMC reviews khan academy material so that they are accurate to their standards.  This means that you generally do not have to worry about obtaining false information.

This is very important. In the end of the day, the AAMC makes the MCAT exam. There is no speculation involved on their part. Although other test prep companies come very close, they are still outside observers.

Khan Academy MCAT physics prep will clear things up

If you are like me, you probably struggle with understanding certain physics concepts. That’s a problem because physics is all about understanding as opposed to memorization.

The Khan Academy physics videos really help nail down difficult concepts. They provide great examples, work through problems with you, and give you that invaluable visual representation of the material.

Time after time I found myself going back to the Khan Academy physics videos to refresh myself on lens equations, circuits, and force diagrams.  

Here’s an example a Khan Academy MCAT physics video which helped me nail down the concept of resistors in series vs parallel.

Khan Academy MCAT prep does a great job organizing their material

Khan Academy does a great job organizing their material. Everything is broken down by concept, making it very easy to navigate when you need a refresher on a specific topic.

For instance, if you are having trouble remembering how capacitors work, you can simply go to the Khan Academy MCAT physics section and select the topic “capacitors” and you will have access to all their videos and materials on capacitors.

This is much easier than pulling out your Princeton MCAT Physics book and flipping through the pages until you find the chapter which covered capacitors. Especially when information regarding capacitors can only be found somewhere in the 50 page chapter on currents.

Additionally, after making an account with Khan Academy, you can clearly track which videos you already watched to avoid redundancy.

Khan Academy’s “Point System”

You get “points” for watching different Khan Academy MCAT videos. There is something very satisfying about having a rewards system when studying for the MCAT.

Even if it is arbitrary.

So how much Khan Academy MCAT prep review should I do?

This depends on how long you are studying for the MCAT and how much review you need.

If you are planning on spending 6 months to study for the MCAT and you need a refresher on the material, then you should devote a lot of time to Khan Academy.

But you should only use Khan Academy as a supplementary material and not your primary MCAT prep source.

Although Khan academy is an excellent resource for the MCAT, it does not cover everything that will be on the MCAT. In my opinion, Khan Academy for the MCAT is best used to reinforce concepts which you have already reviewed from a book set like Kaplan, Princeton, or Examkrackers.


Khan Academy is a great resource for the MCAT, and it is 100% free! Even though Khan Academy isn’t the best material out there, they provide excellent supplementary sources to help grasp some of the more difficult material you might come across during your studies. 

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