The MCAT stands for the Medical College Admissions Test. That’s precisely that – an admissions test. So, as long as you hit the average score of the schools you’re applying for, I believe you’re in good hands. Remember: there’s much more to your medical school application: your extracurriculars, your interview, your grades…
I took the MCAT on September 4th, 2020. It is a shortened exam for the remainder of this year because of COVID-19 (so, I guess that’s the only good thing to come out of this pandemic?). I scored a 513, which is about 87-88% – this was within my goal range (510+), so I’m okay with it.
Now, with the test over with, I reflect on what I could have done more and what I am glad that I did. Keep reading for my study plan. I would repeat these steps if I, hypothetically, were to retake this test (but not planning on it…).
1. Sign up for a date (ex. 3 months from now).
Go on the official AAMC website.
2. Grab your calendar, and divide up however many days into 3 phases:
- CONTENT REVIEW – PHASE 1
- PRACTICE PROBLEMS – PHASE 2
- AAMC TESTS – PHASE 3
3. Purchase your materials:
- A set of textbooks to review (I recommend Kaplan or The Princeton Review)
- UWorld (the BEST!!!)
- Third party full-length practice tests (I recommend Altius)
- AAMC materials:
- Practice tests
- Question packs
- Section banks
4. Join and become familiar with using r/MCAT.
The community r/MCAT is extremely helpful for any questions you may have. From this place, I learned about the Khan Academy 98 Page Psych/Soc document that can replace reading any prep textbook for P/S. From personal experience, UWorld and reading this document were more than enough to score a 130 on the P/S section.
5. Take one practice exam on the same day every week.
And do your best to simulate testing conditions (no phone, don’t google answers you don’t know during the test, only pee during your break, etc.). Then do nothing for the rest of the day; your brain will thank you for the rest. Make sure you take third-party FL’s until the last month before the exam. You will want to take only AAMC material to prep your brain for their question style and logic during this time.
6. Review your entire exam the next day.
Go over every question and understand what they’re asking and why the right answer is right. Bonus tip: all AAMC full-length questions have been asked and explained in detail on r/MCAT. Check it out. If you’re still confused, post on there as well, and someone will help you out ASAP. I love that community and am forever grateful.
7. Do 2-3 CARS passages daily.
Check out Jack Westin or Khan Academy for some great free practice passages.
8. Use only AAMC material for the last month before the test (phase 3).
This is a good idea because no third-party exam can completely replicate AAMC logic; only the AAMC material can. Saving these precious resources for the last month will prime your brain at the perfect time for the approaching test day.
e x a m p l e:
PHASE 1 – CONTENT REVIEW (4 WEEKS)
- Read (skim) through all of the Kaplan prep books (except P/S).
- Read the KA P/S doc and make flashcards for unfamiliar terms.
- CARS daily
PHASE 2 – PRACTICE PROBLEMS (4 WEEKS)
- Thoroughly complete all UWorld MCAT questions
- CARS daily
- One 3rd-party FL weekly
PHASE 3 – PRACTICE EXAMS (4 WEEKS)
- Complete all AAMC Question Packs and Section Banks
- Do all four practice AAMC full-length exams & review
ALSO, KEEP IN MIND:
- Two days before the exam: light review and CARS.
- The day before & day of the exam: no studying! Have confidence. The hardest part is over, now just execute!
Let me know if you have any questions or concerns by leaving a comment below. Good luck, deep breath, you will do great! Make sure to keep taking care of yourself and stay healthy during your studies. For some self-care tips, check out this article.