MCAT Study Tips & Resources

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MCAT Study Tips & Resources

MCAT test prep

Not sure how or where to start with MCAT prep? Having to complete your undergraduate degree while undergoing the med-school admissions process certainly doesn’t eliminate stress either. Luckily, Test Prep Score is here to help with some expert tips to make your MCAT prep as successful as possible. Keep reading to explore Test Prep Score’s curated list of study tips and resources to ease some of your MCAT stress.

1. Begin MCAT Prep Early

The MCAT covers a significant amount of ground, covering content from General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, General Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology. Thus,

the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recommends that the average test-taker dedicate 300 and 350 hours over three months studying before exam day. To meet these official recommendations and avoid content overload due to last-minute cramming, laying out an action plan is non-negotiable.

2. Master the MCAT’s Structure

Since the MCAT is unlike any standardized test you will encounter, getting acquainted with the MCAT structure will set you up for a whirlwind of success. Firstly, the AAMC designed integrated sections that cover overlapping areas of concentration, such as Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems. In addition, the MCAT focuses on making sure you can reproduce content you learned in pre-med while simultaneously evaluating reasoning and critical analysis skills.

Reduce stress by streamlining the way you study and eliminating unwanted surprises on test day, such as question structure, required skill sets, and exam timing. Furthermore, try visiting the official AAMC website to familiarize yourself with the foundational concepts to master for success in each of the four MCAT sections.

3. Take an MCAT Practice Test

Taking a diagnostic exam provides an initial MCAT score to gauge where your starting point is in terms of content knowledge and test readiness. This initial self-assessment can also identify areas of content mastery, as well as areas that need more refinement. Do not feel discouraged with your performance on this practice run, especially if you do not meet your expectations.

There is so much room for improvement ahead of you, and the practice test will serve as a helpful benchmark! Hopefully, you will notice a drastic improvement on your final practice test; thus, you can complete the MCAT with the utmost confidence.

4. Define Your Target MCAT Score

Research and record the required MCAT scores for the med-schools on your application list. Data on the MCAT scores of accepted students is readily available online, and you should use it to compare your score against the scores of those who were successful in the medical school admissions process. Thus, having a clear MCAT score to strive towards can further motivate you to surpass your expectations.

5. Identify Essential MCAT Concepts

With four years of pre-med coursework as your review material, targeting specific covered topics and areas of concern during your three-month prep time is essential. AAMC’s website outlines specific content covered in each exam section, identifying key skills, principles, and concepts. Before embarking on MCAT prep, look at the guide and compile a list of terms and concepts you need a refresh on as you progress. How much you already know might surprise you!

6. Create an MCAT Study Schedule

Remember, the recommended study time ranges over 300 hours, so you must decide how best to allot that vast amount of time. In doing so, schedule practice exams or content categories to review for specific days or weeks.

Also, use this planning to schedule other activities! You don’t want to encounter the dreaded burnout, so remember to prioritize leisure time. Alternatively, spending some time on other activities like research, volunteering, or clinical experience could help provide some balance while also enhancing your medical school applications.

7. Balance Practice & MCAT Content Review

Solely reviewing concepts as you may have done for a normal subject exam will not prepare you appropriately for the MCAT. This exam tests not only your recall of pre-med subject content, but how you apply that knowledge to complex situations and scenarios. Thus, it is essential that you balance practice and content review in your MCAT prep.

To maximize the benefits of taking MCAT practice tests, always track your progress in relation to your target score and correct your work. Also, since the MCAT takes a grueling 7 ½ hours, try to gear yourself toward test day by mimicking actual time constraints.

Do Not Embark on MCAT Prep Alone!

Arm yourself with the best MCAT resources to help you succeed on test day. Alongside college subject notes, research prep books to use as a study tool. Additionally, an MCAT tutor can help identify your weak spots and provide the individualized guidance you need to reach your target score. To discover the best professional MCAT tutors in your area, visit Test Prep Score today!