For those wanting to make a career in medicine, the first step is the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This is one of the longest and toughest tests to take. Yet over the past few years, people are scoring higher than ever on the tests.
A new format for the test was introduced in 2015. The test now has 4 sections and you can score a maximum of 132 per section. This means the perfect MCAT score is 528.
Can you achieve this magic perfect score? If recent results are any indication, people are inching closer to this magic figure every year. So, yes, it is possible to reach the top results, and here’s a quick guide on how to achieve a perfect MCAT score.
The downside of getting a perfect score
However, getting a perfect score in MCAT does not necessarily guarantee admission to medical college, because you do have to go through interviews after the test. And if you have a perfect score, you will be seen as a bit of a nerd or a big head. This makes the admission process that much harder for a person with a perfect score.
Theoretically, it is possible to get a perfect score, but a score of 524 is not that bad either. So do not be disappointed if you cannot get the perfect 528.
It just takes a lot of hard work and a good strategy for MCAT success. Read on for our tips on how you can nail that perfect MCAT score!
Plan when you want to take the MCAT
There are about 30 MCAT test dates in a year. Most of these are between April and September. The first step is to decide when you want to take the test so that you can plan your study strategy. If you plan to take the test in April, make sure your work and study schedule is not too heavy for at least 3 to 4 months before that so that you can prepare well for the test.
Plan on at least 3-4 months of study before you take the MCAT
It is important to decide when you want to take the test so that you have enough time to prepare. Give yourself at least three to four months to study and prepare for the test. During this time make sure you plan your time carefully so that you have enough time for your regular studies as well as for test preparation.
You should aim for at least 300 hours of study for the test. This would work out to about 3-4 hours of study a day for a 3-month study period.
Make sure you do not have a heavy schedule during this study period. Your test preparation should not impinge upon your regular studies. So plan carefully.
Prepare a study schedule
Once you know how much preparation time you need per day, prepare a schedule of what you need to study per day. There are several study guides and books that can help you plan this out. Several online study schedule guides can help you plan a workable study schedule.
Be flexible with the schedule
Do make your schedule flexible so that you can change and modify it as you go along. There will be times when unforeseen circumstances can disrupt the schedule. Make sure you do not get bogged down, but be ready to adapt and modify the plan as you go along. Though, do keep your eye on the goal and stay committed.
How to study?
- Can I study on my own? Or do I need to attend special classes? This depends entirely on you. If you are self-motivated and focused, self-study is the perfect solution. It is much better than spending a lot of money on extra classes.
- Do I need books? Which books? Yes, you would need books to help you study as well as for sample tests. Some popular prep courses for MCAT preparation are Kaplan, Princeton Review, and BluePrint. This guide may help you pick one that fits your studying style.
- Should I invest in videos? It depends on which way you learn better. The AAMC asked Khan Academy to prepare their official MCAT study videos. So, if you like learning using videos, go in for it.
- Do I need AAMC materials? Yes, you do! Make sure you make use of all materials of AAMC that you can lay your hands on.
Make sure you do a lot of sample tests
As you prepare for the test, make sure you do a lot of sample tests. Also, ensure you do the tests in near test conditions. When doing the actual test you have a clock counting down. This can be a guide to some. But to many, it can be distracting and cause them to freeze. But if you condition yourself to do sample tests with a countdown clock keeping time, you will get used to it and will not freeze at the actual test.
Review the sample tests
Besides doing sample tests, it is essential that you also review the tests. This will help you identify subjects and topics you are weak in. Then you can spend more time and effort on those topics and subjects to improve your scores. Make sure you do sample tests, review, redo till you master the topics and subjects.
During the practice tests make sure you time yourself. You get 90 minutes to answer 53 in the CARS section, and 95 minutes to answer 59 questions each in the other three sections. To make it simple, try and answer 20 questions in 30 minutes. That means in 90 minutes you would be able to answer the required number of questions for a section. So make sure you check the time when you have answered 20, 40, and the remaining questions. This way you will know whether or not you are on point or lagging. You must do this so that you know how to proceed when doing the actual test.
The MCAT test is one of the most grueling tests that anyone goes through. The current format of the test has a perfect score of 528. Can you get that perfect score? Yes, it is possible and many people are coming closer to that magic number. But scoring close to the perfect score is equally good and maybe more beneficial when it comes to getting admission to medical school. However, to get a perfect score you do need to prepare well in advance and to practice, practice, practice. All the very best in your endeavors!