How to prepare for your MCAT test

medical school

Acing your MCAT test is essential to begin your journey in the medical field, the guide below highlights how you can prepare for the test. On top of that, if you have the means for it, I would definitely suggest checking out some of the best mcat prep courses to pass your MCAT exam with flying colours.

Start early

This should go without saying, but we want to emphasize how vital it is to begin your MCAT preparation as soon as possible. You should not cram for the MCAT. Begin your actual test preparation two to six months before the exam. Take an initial diagnostic practice exam six months before test day to assess where you stand. 

This will assist you in determining how well prepared you are for the MCAT, what you should focus on throughout your following MCAT preparation, and how much prep time you’re likely to require.

Do practice problems

While acquiring information is a vital part of preparing for the MCAT, it is not sufficient. The MCAT is intended to assess your ability to apply your knowledge of scientific principles in a variety of contexts – in other words, to assess your ability to think critically. 

Doing practice problems is the best strategy to improve your critical thinking ability as it relates to MCAT performance. There are numerous online and offline resources, including as Kaplan Test Prep, Khan Academy, and Peterson’s, that provide a vast range of MCAT practice questions.

Complete practice tests

Individual practice questions will assist you in developing the critical thinking abilities required to perform well on the MCAT. However, in order to prepare for the MCAT, you should also take numerous full-length practice examinations. The MCAT is 6 hours and 15 minutes long, making it one of the most difficult and time-consuming graduate entry exams. 

Completing numerous practice exams before to test day will not only improve your critical thinking skills, but will also assist you in developing the mental endurance required to retain your focus throughout the exam. Pace yourself as you take each practice exam. Pacing on the MCAT can be difficult for many students; don’t let it be yours.

Don’t just focus on your strengths

While focusing solely on your talents may be a decent strategy for some standardized tests, it is not the greatest MCAT test preparation plan. Use practice exams to help you understand your strengths and shortcomings whether you study on your own or take an MCAT preparation course. Then, using this knowledge, create a study plan. The most effective plan will enable you to build on your strengths while improving in your areas of weakness.

Don’t overload yourself

If you’re like most premed students, you’ll begin studying for the MCAT while still completing your undergraduate degree. If at all possible, avoid overloading oneself with undergraduate classes during your MCAT preparation period. If you can plan ahead and manage a lesser academic load during this time, you will have more time and mental capacity to focus on MCAT preparation.

Get expert advice

Seek guidance from folks who have taken the MCAT and scored well. Find out what study materials they used and what preparation tactics they recommend. You could even want to think about taking an MCAT prep course. Many MCAT prep courses are taught by people who have a high MCAT score and can advise you on which exam tactics are likely to work best for you. Most college and university campuses offer MCAT preparation courses. Because these classes frequently fill up rapidly, enroll as soon as feasible.

Use good materials

Most premed programs at universities can supply you with adequate study tools and resources for the MCAT. The study materials issued by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the architects and designers of the MCAT, are highly recommended. 

Attempt to obtain every practice exam and practice question from the AAMC. The practice questions published by AAMC are mainly taken from prior MCAT exams, and the practice tests they provide are more accurate than any other source.

College Student

We specifically recommend acquiring the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) study guides: Practice Test II, III, and IV, Practice Items, and the MCAT Student Manual. If you can’t find them at your local bookshop, you can buy them online.

Kaplan Test Prep and Khan Academy are two more reputable study options.

Review the subject matter

The MCAT is intended to assess analytical and problem-solving abilities in two key academic areas: physical science (chemistry and physics) and biology (organic chemistry and biology). Even if the aim of the exam is to measure understanding and application of knowledge, you will struggle if you don’t have the knowledge. 

During your preparation period, devote time to studying your scientific class notes and reading study materials that will help you improve your understanding.