When applying to medical school, many students want to know where they should start. Indeed, knowing the first steps for to your med school journey include know how and when you should prepare for the MCAT. The best MCAT prep strategy and tips include preparing a timeline before you take the MCAT exam.
Your MCAT prep needs to be at least 3 months in advance of the test, and preferably at least 9 months before the actual Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Within this page, we cover the best MCAT prep ideas, how you can be ready for the exam, recommended books for MCAT, and a timeline to assist you with admissions.
(1) Take a full length practice exam. Remember, the MCAT is a computer-based test and takes at least 5 hours to complete. Be ready for what most people consider to be an endurance test. Taking a full length practice exam will give you a better idea of what you need to focus on more leading up to the exam.
(2) Isolate your strengths and weaknesses. The MCAT has a verbal, physical, biological science, and writing sample. You are likely to have one section in which you are stronger than another. Knowing your “strength” sections can save you hundreds of hours preparing. You should isolate and separate your strengths and focus as much as possible. For example, if you’re better at Physical and Biological sciences, but need help on Verbal, consider spending 50 to 60% more energy on the Verbal section on the MCAT that the other sections.
(3) Study at least 2.5 hours each day. You should treat the MCAT exam as a part-time job. We recommend spending about 15 hours per week preparing for the test. This will help you long-term, and most importantly on test day.
(4) Repeat and review every section of the MCAT for the past 5 to 6 years. The MCAT is a standardized exam for a reason. Going through the last few years of MCAT questions (use AAMC practice guides) will help you tremendously.
(5) Do at least 3,000 practice MCAT problems. If you’re aiming for a 35 or higher, you need to complete as many problems as possible. Of course, these 3,000 practice problems can be completed within our recommended MCAT timeline below. If you’re fairly balanced on all sections (Verbal, Physical, and Bio) then split the 3,000 problems evenly – and do so according to point #2 above.
These are the best MCAT prep and tips we believe that can help you. Our company can also provide a med school consultation to assist you.
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|Freshman Year||Take required courses like Biology and Chemistry if possible. Study at least once each month for MCAT.|
|Sophomore Year||Make sure you've taken lab courses and additional Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses - all prereqs for Med school. Begin preparing at least 4 times per month for MCAT.|
|Junior Year||Prepare full-time for MCAT exam. Study with a tutor, and/or get as much help as you can for the exam. The earlier, the better.|
|Senior Year||By fall, you should have completed your med school applications. If you have to re-take the MCAT exam, you should be studying at least 3 hours per day at this point.|
|Postbaccalaureate (if applicable)||Focus at least 50% of your school work on preparing for the MCAT. You won't get as many interviews at this point unless you MCAT score is a 31 or higher.|
*These MCAT prep tips and strategies are what we think will help you prepare best for the exam. We recommend you calling our MCAT tutors today before you prepare.
(1) Self-study – but only if you’re able to keep to a strict schedule and already tested at least in the 34+ higher category for the MCAT.
(2) Moderated self-study- consider a private MCAT tutor for test prep alongside some independent study. If you’re in the 30 to 34 range.
(3) Hire a private MCAT test prep tutor: if you are in the < 30 range for the MCAT, you should absolutely hire someone to help you. The return on investment for attending medical school is so high that you don’t want to miss any opportunities. The best MCAT prep is to begin early, and get all of the resources you need to succeed in advance.