10 Great MCAT Study Tips

by Steve on June 17, 2010

Are you using the summer to study for the MCAT? Here are 10 MCAT study tips to make things easier:

  1. Start early. 3-6 months is what most people need to study for the MCAT, depending on the amount you plan to study each week.
  2. Have a plan. Make a study schedule and stick to it.
  3. Take practice tests. The best MCAT practice tests are from the AAMC, including one for free. Kaplan and Princeton Review each have free practice tests. I also checked out practice tests from the library, although these are not electronic obviously.
  4. Itentify weak areas and focus on those. The practice tests will give you an idea of what you need to work on. Focus on studying in the areas where you are weak until you see your scores in those areas improve.
  5. Limit study sessions to two hours. As Cal Newport at Study Hacks notes, your productivity drops dramatically after two hours. If you want to study four hours a day, have one session in the morning, take a nice break and relax, and then have the next session in the evening.
  6. Practice problems and reading sets. Much of the physical sciences is doing simple calculations. The only way to study for the verbal section is to practice. Check out these books for practice problems:
  7. -Examkrackers MCAT101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning

    -Examkrackers: 1001 Questions in MCAT in Physics

    -Examkrackers 1001 Questions in MCAT Chemistry

    -Examkrackers: 1001 Questions in MCAT, Organic Chemistry

  8. Quiz yourself. Some parts of the MCAT are basic memorization. Cover up formulas with a piece of paper and practice writing them or saying them out loud.
  9. Check out forums for FAQs about the MCAT. The MCAT forums at SDN are active.
  10. Rise early as the test approaches. Most test times for the MCAT are at 8:00AM. The week before the test wake up at the time you would plan to on the day of the test. Take practice tests starting at 8:00AM.
  11. Stay healthy. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep leading up to the MCAT. The last thing you need is to be battling both the MCAT and a nasty cold or flu.

Hope these tips are  helpful. Good luck studying for the MCAT! If you need to get some study materials, check out my review of the ExamKrackers MCAT Complete Study Package.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristine August 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Hello there! Thank you for the helpful tips.

I’m currently a college junior and I’m hoping to take the MCAT January 2011. I’ve completed about 95% of the courses I need for the MCAT. All I need now is General Physics II. Would you recommend that I take the MCAT this upcoming January even if I’m just taking Physics II this semester? I’m also going to give myself 3 to 4 months to study.

2 Steve August 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Hey Kristine! Thanks for visiting.
As long as you get a decent review book and cover the Physics stuff a little more thoroughly, you should be fine. I recommend the Examkrackers books, my review is here:
http://mdjourney.com/mcat-examkrackers-complete-review

Good luck!

3 Mats June 11, 2012 at 11:11 am

I am taking a major that doesnt require biology or very much chemistry. What classes would you suggest I take in those areas to give me the knowledge and background I need for the test?

4 Steve June 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Hey Mats,
If you’re going to apply to med school most schools require a basic set of biology and chemistry classes. Check out this post: http://mdjourney.com/requirements-for-medical-school
At the very minimum General Biology, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry will probably be enough background for the test. Other upper level bio classes would be helpful.
Good luck!

5 Mcatforme January 21, 2013 at 1:19 am

Great article and great tips! We second you on the books that you have chosen as well as the others! If you guys want some free video lectures to accompany those practice problems, check us out at Mcatforme.com, everything is free!

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