MCAT Study Schedule Part 1

The length of your MCAT study schedule depends on how recently you took your pre-med classes; today I’ll address students who are still in undergrad or finished in the last year and feel like they have retained alot of their knowledge.

You should start studying for your MCAT 3-4 months before the exam. Plan for a bump in the intensity of studying about 6 weeks prior to the test. Learn more at my website jk4verbal or email me at jk4verbal@gmail.com for more information

MCAT Study Schedule Part 1: Content Review Phase

Your initial content review should be limited and focused on getting your eyes on 95% of the material once briefly. Too often, the initial content review takes 6-8 weeks and soon you’re six months from the MCAT without doing a full-length test. I prefer 2-4 weeks, doing about 2 books per week (most test-prep companies have 6-8 books in their study series). This is indeed aggressive, but remember that the purpose is not mastery.  You have to make content review fit your schedule.

For instance, if you can study 4 hours per day 4 times a week, that’s a book per eight hours.  If the book is 300 pages, that’s 38 pages per hour– alot, but by no means impossible. To improve your efficiency, go faster in areas where you feel confident so you can spend more time on other areas.  If you’re really struggling with the timing, start the content review with the end-0f-chapter questions and only review the chapter material if you’re scoring below 75%.

MCAT Study Schedule Part 2: Practice Problem Phase

After your initial pass through content review, the next thing on your study schedule is actualizing that knowledge. Do AAMC Question Packs first and AAMC Section Banks next; your goal for completing the section banks should be in the 4-6 week range prior to the test. Question Packs are easy, and Section Banks are too hard, although recent students have reported that some passages on their actual MCAT approximated the Section Banks in difficulty.

Try to approximate the actual timing on the test.  Thus, a 120-question pack should take just about three hours and ten minutes total. Supplement practice problems with focused content review including Khan Academy videos and try to make your weakest area into not your weakest area. Then repeat.

Check back tomorrow for more information on Phases 3 and 4, Full-Length Exam Phase and Test Week!


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jk4verbal provides the best tutoring for the MCAT CARS section. I'm a physician who can help you through the medical school testing and admissions procees. With 10 years of experience in 1-on-1, online, and classroom settings, I have helped hundreds of students improve their CARS scores and get into medical school.